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Cancer Nurs. 2000 Jun;23(3):220-9.

The effects of hydrocolloid dressing and gentian violet on radiation-induced moist desquamation wound healing.

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  • 1Department of Clinical Oncology, Prince of Wales Hospital, Hong Kong.


The aim of the study was to compare the effect of a gentian violet topical application with that of a moist dressing (hydrocolloid) on the rate and efficacy of radiotherapy-induced moist desquamation wound healing and the patients' satisfaction level with each method. This prospective randomized clinical trial used a stratified sampling design. A sample of 39 patients with 60 wounds had their wounds assessed on alternate days in terms of several wound-healing parameters including wound size, wound pain, incidence of infection, and time required for healing. Patient satisfaction with each treatment was evaluated at the completion of the study. Gentian violet significantly decreased wound size and reduced wound pain. However, this treatment received significantly lower ratings for dressing comfort and dressing aesthetic acceptance. Nevertheless, the time required for healing was not statistically different in the two groups. These findings suggest that the lower score of dressing satisfaction level in the gentian violet group may result from the skin discoloration and drying effects of the treatment, which renders patients unable to move or stretch their skin. Although the aim is to have complete wound healing, this may not be realistic for many lesions such as radiotherapy-induced moist desquamation wounds. The best evidence on which to make decisions about individual care can now be based on patients' own perception of quality.

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