Products Available to help keep the infusion set on our skin
The first and most obvious way is with whatever adhesive arrangement is made part of the infusion set, if there is that. The
MiniMed Sof-Set and the Tender/Silhoutte/Comfort are made with an adhesive as part of the infusion set. The other, more plain, usually metal-needle infusion sets often do not have adhesive devices included. For these, the products listed below are almost required. For the sets with an adhesive portion, these things can be of assistance.
If you use the Tender/Silhouette/Comfort infusion set, it is supposed to stay on once in place. That's because it has a special hypoallergenic adhesive layer that's flexible
enough and large enough to hold the set in place - with no need for additional
base taping that can irritate your skin. Because the Tender set allows you
to temporarily disconnect your pump during active or private times, you'll
have even less irritation because you won't need to be pulling adhesive tapes
off as often.
As with almost everything, there are many ways to keep the infusion set on the skin. There are many different products available and each one works a bit differently for each person. Many manufacturers have web sites. Links are included for the ones we have. With some
persistence, information about anything can be located (although some sites are very deep). How ever many things might be mentioned here, there are surely almost as many that have been inadvertently overlooked.
On the Minimed Tape-Tips page is a great deal of information.
There is a web-site on Wound Care with some good, general information about 'dressings' (bandages) which includes adherent products.
At skin level, there is always some preparation done. Before the cannula is
inserted, the skin must be clean and dry.
- An application of an antibacterial skin preparation will help by making the skin sticky and also serve as a barrier between the skin and the adhesive.
Smith and Nephew Skin Prep or IV Prep are most often mentioned but there is also ShieldSkin by the Mentor Company and Skin Tac by Mason Labs (and probably more). There is also
No Sting Barrier Film. The 3M product description includes that No-Sting is a "professional" product. The uses listed for the product are protective but this has been used by some pumpers with some success.
Another product, called Skin-Tac, is a liquid adhesive which is put on
before the tape. It may help if the tape begins to
pull from the edges. As long as the infusion set is not disturbed it should work. Skin-Tac is made by Mason Labs. Plain antiseptics or antibacterials, such as Hibiclens or Betadine will help prevent infection but are not intended to aid in adhesion.
When using betadine you may find you want to allow it to dry,
then wipe it off prior to applying the tape. The betadine creates a
barrier that washes off. When you shower, the set might become dislogded if the Betadine between you and the tape gets too wet.
- With a sticky skin preparation on, your fingers can also stick to you,
which can be tricky after the infusion set is in place. One way to avoid this is
to first put onto the prepared skin a dressing that is sterile on both sides and
then put the cannula through that. One such product is Smith and Nephew IV30OO.
Tapes And Dressings
- PolyskinTM (Kendall)
A transparent dressing which is compatible with most skin types and is reported to "stick" well.
Polyskin comes in a convenient 2" x 2.7" size that is perfect for covering the infusion set. Available
from MiniMed Sales Order (800-843-6687), or
MiniMed Direct On-Line.
Like almost everything else, Disetronic has these products, too. (in all cases, the 'where available' is not the only place; your local source is likely to have these things, too).
TegadermHPTM or TegadermHPTM (3M)
A clear tape dressing similar to Polyskin. The Tegaderm HP is intended for people with allergies and sensitivities, it adheres well when exposed to moisture. Tegaderm and Tegaderm HP is available at pharmacies or through medical supply houses, and MiniMed and Disetronic.
- Tegaderm PlusTM
Tegaderm Plus consists of a thin polyurethane membrane coated with a layer
of an acrylic adhesive that contains 2% available iodine in the form
of an iodophor. In contact with skin, the iodophor slowly releases
iodine, which has bactericidal activity and provides protection against
infection. The dressing, which is permeable to both water vapour and oxygen, is
impermeable to micro-organisms; once in position, it provides an
effective barrier to external contamination. It is
principally used to retain peripheral and central IV catheters. The
transparent nature of the dressing allows the site to be constantly
monitored for signs of infection, leakage or catheter misplacement.
Tegaderm Plus should not be applied to patients who are known or
suspected to be sensitive to iodine.
When one of these tapes (Tegaderm, Tegaderm Plus, Polyseal) is used to dress a cannula site, the area should first be cleansed with alcohol or saline and carefully dried, ensuring that all traces of creams (Emla) or detergents have been removed.
Smith and Nephew United
IV3000tm is a sterile dressing which keeps the covered area dry. It is sterile on both sides and is used between the skin and the infusion set - it goes on first and the needle is put through it. Most infusion set adhesives will stick better to the IV3000 than to skin, and when it gets wet the IV3000 usually does not come loose. When the tape is stretched and pulled for removal the IV3000 usually pulls away from skin and hair easily. It comes in several sizes; the recommended size for insulin pump use is 2 " x 2¾".
IV3000 is available from Smith and Nephew United (800-876-1261).
TM (Smith and Nephew United)
A white roll tape with very good adhesive, however is not transparent. Hypafix can be used to cover the infusion set, to tape down the edges of another dressing, or to secure a safety loop. It is designed for sensitive skin. Hypafix is available at specialty pharmacies or from Smith and Nephew United (800-876-1261).
- HyTape (Hy Pink Surgical)
A pink fabric roll tape that comes in 1" and 2" widths. HyTape can be used in the same manner as Hypafix and is available from Hy Pink Surgical (800-248-0101).
- Transpore (3M) or Dermicell (Johnson and Johnson)
These clear roll tapes stick well and are used by many pump users to secure safety loops.
- Silk Tape
Silk tape comes in ½" and 1" widths. It both sticks extremely well and comes off fairly easily when pulled. Like Hypafix, it is not transparent. Special care should be exercised to monitor the infusion site if it is used as the primary dressing over the infusion set. Pharmacies can order silk tape from various manufacturers.
- Paper Tape
Some people who have extremely sensitive skin prefer paper tape next to the skin. Examples are Micro-pore and Duropore. However, paper tape does not adhere as well as other products on some people. If this is the case, try securing the edges of paper tape with another product that sticks better. Paper tapes are available from pharmacies and medical supply houses.