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Ann Emerg Med. 1990 Feb;19(2):121-4.

Outpatient management of partial-thickness burns: Biobrane versus 1% silver sulfadiazine.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, MetroHealth Medical Center, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio.


A randomized, prospective study comparing the use of Biobrane (group 1) with the use of 1% silver sulfadiazine (group 2) in treating 56 partial-thickness burn wounds was carried out in 52 outpatients with burns that comprised less than 10% of their total body surface area. The two groups were similar in age, gender, race, and extent of burn. Wounds of patients in group 1 (30) were compared with those of group 2 (26) for healing time, pain, compliance with scheduled visits, and costs. Infected and skin-grafted wounds were excluded from healing time analysis. Infection rates of the two groups were similar (three of 30 vs two of 26). One patient in each group underwent skin grafting. Healing times of group 1 wounds were significantly less than those of group 2 (10.6 +/- 0.8 vs 15.0 +/- 1.2 days, P less than .01). Using a pain scale of 1 to 5, Biobrane-treated patients averaged lower pain scores at 24 hours after the burn (1.6 +/- 0.8 vs 3.6 +/- 1.3 P less than .001) and used less pain medication. Compliance with scheduled outpatient visits was also improved in the Biobrane-treated group (88.6% vs 63.2% attendance, P less than .001). Idealized total treatment costs averaged $434 for patients in group 1 compared with $504 for patients in group 2. We conclude that when used on properly selected wounds, Biobrane therapy can significantly decrease pain and total healing time without increasing the cost of outpatient burn care. Improved patient compliance may be an added benefit.

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