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Dermatol Ther (Heidelb). 2012 Dec;2(1):12. doi: 10.1007/s13555-012-0012-8. Epub 2012 Aug 28.

A pilot study to investigate the efficacy of tobramycin-dexamethasone ointment in promoting wound healing.

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University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX 75390 USA.



The standard postsurgical treatment of wounds after dermatologic procedures is currently limited. Topical corticosteroids have been used successfully in postoperative management of ophthalmologic surgeries that involve the skin of the eyelid. In particular, tobramycin 0.3%/dexamethasone 0.1% ophthalmic ointment is considered the "gold standard" of steroid-antibiotic fixed combinations and is marketed worldwide as an agent used to control postsurgical inflammation and prevent postsurgical infection. The purpose of this study is to evaluate both the efficacy and safety of tobramycin-dexamethasone ointment for the postsurgical management of Mohs or dermatologic surgery in comparison to white petrolatum.


The authors employed a half-scar study in which patients who underwent skin cancer removal surgery were given tobramycin-dexamethasone ointment and white petrolatum to apply to each half of their wound for 2 weeks. The study was double blinded, and physicians and the patients independently evaluated the scars for cosmetic appearance at 2 and 6 weeks postoperatively. The evaluation criteria included judging which side of the wound looked better based on color, thickness, and discomfort.


Eighteen patients were enrolled, of which 13 patients completed the three phases of the study. After 6 weeks the wounds did not show a statistically significant difference in color, thickness, or discomfort on either side.


Results obtained to date suggest that the application of tobramycin-dexamethasone ointment to wounds after dermatologic surgery does not promote better wound healing than white petrolatum. These findings indicate that a topical steroid and antibiotic ointment may not be an effective intervention in improving postoperative outcomes in dermatologic surgeries.

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