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Composite dressing, sterile, pad size 16 sq. in. or less, with any size adhesive border, each dressing

HCPCS code

Name of the Procedure:

Composite Dressing Application

Technical or Medical Terms: Application of a sterile composite dressing, which includes a pad size of 16 sq. in. or less, with any size adhesive border.


This procedure involves applying a sterile composite dressing to a wound. Composite dressings are multi-layer dressings used to manage wounds by providing a moist environment, absorption, and protection. The dressing consists of a pad of 16 square inches or less and an adhesive border.


Medical Conditions Addressed:

  • Acute or chronic wounds
  • Surgical incisions
  • Pressure ulcers
  • Diabetic ulcers
  • Traumatic wounds

Goals or Expected Outcomes:

  • Protect the wound from infection
  • Absorb exudate and moisture
  • Promote faster healing
  • Maintain a moist wound environment


Specific Symptoms or Conditions:

  • Wounds with moderate to heavy exudate
  • Patients with limited mobility (bedridden patients)
  • Non-healing wounds
  • Post-surgical wound sites

Patient Criteria:

  • Presence of a wound less than 16 square inches in size
  • Need for a dressing with an adhesive border for secure attachment


Pre-Procedure Instructions:

  • Clean the wound following your healthcare provider’s instructions
  • Ensure the skin around the wound is dry
  • Avoid applying lotions or ointments around the adhesive area

Diagnostic Tests or Assessments:

  • Wound assessment conducted by healthcare provider
  • Possible culture swab if infection is suspected

Procedure Description

  1. Clean the Wound: Use saline solution or prescribed wound cleanser to clean the wound area.
  2. Prepare the Skin: Gently dry the surrounding skin.
  3. Select the Dressing: Choose a sterile composite dressing that is appropriate for the size of the wound.
  4. Apply the Dressing: Place the composite pad directly over the wound.
  5. Secure the Adhesive Border: Smooth the adhesive border over the surrounding skin to ensure a secure fit.
  6. Monitor: Ensure the dressing is properly affixed and that there are no gaps or folds.

Tools and Equipment:

  • Sterile composite dressing (pad size 16 sq. in. or less)
  • Saline solution or prescribed wound cleanser
  • Disposable gloves
  • Sterile field setup (if necessary)

Anesthesia or Sedation:

  • Not typically required


  • The procedure generally takes approximately 10-15 minutes.


  • The procedure can be performed in various settings, including:
    • Outpatient clinics
    • Wound care centers
    • Home care settings


  • Nurses
  • Wound care specialists
  • Physicians (if required during complex wound care procedures)

Risks and Complications

Common Risks:

  • Skin irritation or allergy to adhesive
  • Dislodgement or improper adhesion

Rare Risks:

  • Infection if not applied under sterile conditions

Management of Complications:

  • Reassess and apply a new dressing if necessary
  • Antiseptic application for minor infections
  • Seek medical advice for severe complications


Expected Benefits:

  • Rapid wound protection and faster healing
  • Reduction in wound infection risk
  • Improved patient comfort and mobility


  • Benefits may be observed within a few days to weeks, depending on the wound’s severity and patient’s overall health.


Post-Procedure Care:

  • Follow care instructions given by healthcare provider
  • Monitor for signs of infection (redness, drainage, increased pain)
  • Avoid activities that may dislodge the dressing

Expected Recovery Time:

  • Varies based on wound type and patient condition; closely follow up with healthcare provider as recommended


Other Treatment Options:

  • Hydrocolloid dressings
  • Foam dressings
  • Alginate dressings

Pros and Cons:

  • Different dressings offer varied absorption and moisture control; discuss with a healthcare provider for the best option.

Patient Experience

During the Procedure:

  • Minimal discomfort expected during cleaning and dressing application

After the Procedure:

  • Comfortable fit of the dressing
  • Effective pain management might include OTC pain relievers or prescribed medication if necessary

Pain Management:

  • Adhere to a prescribed pain management plan if discomfort persists

By following these guidelines, patients will have a clearer understanding of the composite dressing application procedure, its benefits, and what to expect during their treatment.

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