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Alginate or other fiber gelling dressing, wound cover, sterile, pad size more than 16 sq. in. but less than or equal to 48 sq. in., each dressing

HCPCS code

Name of the Procedure:

Alginate or Other Fiber Gelling Dressing Application

  • Common Names: Alginate dressing
  • Technical Term: A6197: Alginate or other fiber gelling dressing, wound cover, sterile, pad size more than 16 sq. in. but less than or equal to 48 sq. in., each dressing


Alginate dressings are specialized wound dressings made from natural fibers derived from seaweed. These dressings transform into a gel when they come into contact with wound exudate, promoting a moist environment conducive to healing. They are used to cover and protect moderately to heavily exuding wounds.


  • Medical Conditions Addressed: Treatment of moderately to heavily exuding wounds, including pressure ulcers, diabetic foot ulcers, venous ulcers, and surgical wounds.
  • Goals: Maintain a moist wound environment, promote healing, manage wound exudate, and protect the wound from contamination.


  • Symptoms/Conditions: Open wounds with moderate to heavy exudate, presence of necrotic tissue requiring softness, or wounds that need to be kept moist.
  • Patient Criteria: Suitable for patients with open, exuding wounds that require frequent dressing changes or have difficulty healing.


  • Instructions: No special preparations like fasting or medication adjustments are typically required.
  • Assessments: A thorough wound assessment to evaluate size, depth, and exudate level is necessary prior to dressing application.

Procedure Description

  1. Clean the wound: Using sterile saline or wound cleanser.
  2. Prepare the dressing: Select an appropriately sized alginate dressing based on the wound dimensions.
  3. Apply the dressing: Place the alginate pad directly onto the wound bed, ensuring the entire wound is covered.
  4. Secure the dressing: Use a secondary dressing or adhesive bandage to keep the alginate dressing in place.
  • Tools and Equipment: Sterile saline, wound cleanser, sterile gloves, alginate dressing, secondary dressing.
  • Anesthesia/Sedation: None required.


  • Typical Time: The application process usually takes about 10-15 minutes.


  • Location: Can be performed in various healthcare settings including hospitals, outpatient clinics, and at home by trained caregivers or nurses.


  • Healthcare Professionals Involved: Nurses, wound care specialists, or trained caregivers.

Risks and Complications

  • Common Risks: Skin irritation, sensitivity reactions, maceration of surrounding skin if not managed properly.
  • Rare Risks: Infection (if dressing is not changed appropriately), allergic reactions to dressing material.
  • Management: Regular wound assessments and dressing changes to monitor for signs of infection or complications.


  • Expected Benefits: Accelerated wound healing, effective exudate management, reduced dressing change frequency, and improved patient comfort.
  • Timeline for Benefits: Benefits can typically be observed within a few days to weeks, depending on the wound severity and patient condition.


  • Post-Procedure Care: Regular dressing changes as per healthcare provider’s instructions, monitoring for signs of infection or skin changes.
  • Recovery Time: Varies based on wound size and severity; wound typically heals over weeks to months.
  • Restrictions/Follow-Up: Minimal restrictions; follow-up with healthcare provider for wound reassessment and dressing changes.


  • Other Options: Hydrocolloid dressings, foam dressings, hydrogel dressings, and traditional gauze dressings.
  • Pros and Cons:
    • Hydrocolloid dressings: Better for minimal exudate but not as effective for heavily exuding wounds.
    • Foam dressings: Comfortable but might not provide as moist an environment as alginate.
    • Hydrogel dressings: Good for dry wounds but less effective for heavy exudate.
    • Gauze dressings: Inexpensive but need frequent changes and might not maintain a moist environment.

Patient Experience

  • During Procedure: Patients typically feel minimal discomfort during the application.
  • After Procedure: Some patients might feel a cooling sensation as the dressing gels; pain management usually involves over-the-counter pain relievers if needed.
  • Comfort Measures: Ensuring a proper fit of the dressing to prevent skin irritation and frequent monitoring to adjust the dressing as needed for patient comfort.

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