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Alginate or other fiber gelling dressing, wound cover, sterile, pad size 16 sq. in. or less, each dressing

HCPCS code

Name of the Procedure:

Alginate or other fiber gelling dressing, wound cover, sterile, pad size 16 sq. in. or less, each dressing (HCPCS Code A6196)


This procedure involves the application of a sterile, alginate or other fiber gelling dressing to cover and protect wounds. The dressing helps manage wound exudate and promote a moist healing environment.


The purpose of this dressing is to manage wound drainage (exudate) and maintain an optimal moist environment for wound healing. It is often used for moderate to heavily exuding wounds to prevent infection and facilitate faster recovery.


  • Chronic wounds like pressure ulcers, diabetic ulcers, and venous stasis ulcers.
  • Acute wounds such as surgical incisions, traumatic injuries, and burns.
  • Wounds with moderate to heavy exudate.


  • No specific fasting or medication adjustments are required.
  • The wound area should be cleaned as per medical guidelines before applying the dressing.

Procedure Description

  1. Clean and prepare the wound site using appropriate antiseptic solutions.
  2. Select the alginate or other fiber gelling dressing of appropriate size (16 sq. in. or less).
  3. Remove the dressing from its sterile packaging.
  4. Apply the dressing directly to the wound site, ensuring full coverage.
  5. Secure the dressing with secondary dressing or adhesive as needed.


  • Sterile alginate or other fiber gelling dressing.
  • Antiseptic solutions.
  • Secondary dressing materials (e.g., adhesive tape, bandage).

Anesthesia: None typically required for dressing application.


The procedure typically takes about 10–15 minutes, depending on the size and condition of the wound.


The procedure can be performed in a variety of settings including hospitals, outpatient clinics, wound care centers, and even at home under professional guidance.


  • Wound care specialists, nurses, or trained caregivers.

Risks and Complications

  • Mild skin irritation or allergic reaction to the dressing material.
  • Potential for the dressing to dry out if not properly managed.
  • Rarely, infection if the dressing is not applied under sterile conditions or changed regularly.


  • Effective management of wound exudate.
  • Maintains a moist wound environment, promoting faster and more effective healing.
  • Reduces the risk of infection by shielding the wound from contaminants.


  • Regular dressing changes as recommended by a healthcare provider.
  • Monitoring for signs of infection or allergy.
  • Typical recovery time varies depending on the wound type and patient's overall health, usually involving weekly or bi-weekly follow-ups.


  • Hydrocolloid dressings.
  • Foam dressings.
  • Gauze dressings.
  • Each alternative has its own pros and cons, often related to the type and amount of wound exudate, cost, and ease of use.

Patient Experience

  • Patients may feel a mild cooling sensation initially.
  • Generally, low pain associated with the dressing.
  • Pain management can include over-the-counter pain relievers if necessary.
  • Regular comfort measures include ensuring the dressing remains moist and secured properly to prevent discomfort and promote healing.

Medical Policies and Guidelines for Alginate or other fiber gelling dressing, wound cover, sterile, pad size 16 sq. in. or less, each dressing

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