Medical tape is used to hold gauze, wound dressings, and medical tubing in place. Surgical tape provides a strong hold, yet is safe on skin. It is designed to be breathable and many varieties are hypoallergenic. Medical tape is available in several different materials such as cloth, plastic, and paper.
Cloth medical tape has a fabric backing that makes it very flexible and durable. It conforms to awkward areas of the body, so it is ideal for use on places like elbows and knees. Cloth surgical tape also adjusts diagonally and horizontally to accomodate any swelling or movement throughout the day. Medipore is a popular brand of cloth tape.
Plastic medical tape is transparent and water resistant. This type of tape sticks to damp skin and maintains its adhesion. One other benefit of plastic surgical tape is that it does not stick to medical gloves, making it easy to handle. This type of tape is not as flexible as other materials, but still provides a strong hold. It is ideal for securing tubing on the body.
Paper surgical tape has tiny holes throughout the material, making it very breathable. This allows for proper air circulation and helps speed healing. Paper medical tape is gentle on skin and does not leave behind a sticky residue. It is commonly used to hold wound dressings in place. Paper tape is not as flexible or elastic as other types of tape. However, the stiffer material makes it easy to tear.
No matter what type of medical tape you choose, we recommend using an adhesive remover when removing the tape. This product breaks down the glue to prevent skin damage and discomfort. Thoroughly removing residue from the skin will also help the next bandage or medical tape adhere better.