Understanding the Different Types of Medical Tapes


Understanding the Different Types of Medical Tapes


Every year, 6.5 million people are affected by non-healing chronic wounds in the US, with more than $25 billion spent annually.

With increasing health care costs, an aging population, and a sharp rise in diabetes and obesity worldwide, there are mounting concerns about the country’s ability to provide financially responsible wound care while attaining acceptable quality, effectiveness, and equity levels.

As a living, breathing organ, our skin behaves differently from person to person, making selecting the correct medical tape essential to proper care. Understanding skin integrity and the different types of medical tapes available guides healthcare professionals to meet the everyday demands of patients throughout the entire continuum of care.

Serving US healthcare providers for over 30 years as a leader in the development and manufacturing of medical products, Dukal is set apart by our strengths in global logistics, quality and regulatory product expertise, and healthcare innovation.

As a trusted partner Dukal works tirelessly to produce results using innovative manufacturing and supply chain strategies that benefit your brand and your bottom line. Customers that work with Dukal are able to reduce overall product spend, maintain or improve quality, as well as improve overall fill rate in the categories we provide.

In this article we will cover: ​

Selecting the Right Medical Tape

When selecting the correct medical tape, it's essential to understand the patient's skin integrity, along with the tape's intended use and environmental conditions.

Ask yourself:

  • What is the patient's skin integrity? Can it handle a strong adhesive?
  • Does the tape need to be conforming? Will it be used with tubing, an IV, or a catheter?
  • Will the tape get wet?

What are the most common medical tapes?

  • Cloth
  • Paper
  • Transparent

What is medical tape used for?

Commonly called surgical tapes, medical tapes are used to secure gauze, tubing, or other dressings to the skin.

Different Types of Medical Tapes


What is paper medical tape?

Paper medical tape is a lightweight, microporous option. Recommended for delicate or elderly skin, medical paper tape is gentle on skin and won't harm delicate wounds. 

  • Delicate skin type product, least aggressive tape
  • Easy to tear

View paper medical tapes

What is cloth medical tape?

The standard and most versatile medical tape, cloth medical tape, is a durable option designed for strength. A gentle adhesive cloth tape that will leave minimal residue on the skin, it is also designed for easy tearing, even with gloves. 

  • Durable cloth tape designed for strength
  • Easy to tear, designed for bilateral tearing without the need of scissors
  • Gentle adhesive will leave minimal residue on skin

View cloth medical tapes


What is transparent medical tape?

A high-quality porous, clear medical tape perforated for added breathability and bi-directional tearing. Transparent medical tape conforms and stretches to accommodate movement making it excellent for IV sites, dressings, and tubing retention. 

  • ·Soft and flexible making it ideal for difficult tape areas
  • Transparent for greater skin visibility
  • Provides light compression without constriction
  • Perforated for improved breathability and allows for bi-directional tearing

View transparent medical tapes

What is waterproof medical tape?

Seen primarily in the industrial safety market and first aid kids, waterproof tape has a more aggressive adhesion while retaining self-tearing properties for easy application.  

  • More aggressive adhesive
  • Self-tearing and easy to apply

View waterproof medical tapes


What is retention medical tape?

Retention tape is a soft and flexible medical tape ideal for difficult-to-tape areas. It provides light compression without constriction and is perforated every two inches for ease of use. The printed grid pattern on the s-curve release liner allows for greater wound reference and monitoring, while allowing simple removal of the liner even when wearing gloves.

View retention medical tapes


Common Medical Tape Questions

Why would someone need short roll tapes?

High-quality tapes in patient-specific, single-use rolls contributes to the safe and sanitary treatment of all patients. The perfect amount of tape for securing dressings, IV sites, or tubing.

Does medical tape contain latex?

All Dukal tapes are not made with natural rubber latex.

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