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Am J Surg. 1982 Jul;144(1):76-80.

Early surgical excision versus conventional therapy in patients with 20 to 40 percent burns. A comparative study.


Using the records of 72 patients treated at the University of Washington Burn Center, this study compared the results of early surgical excision (by 14 days postburn) and autografting to those of autografting after spontaneous separation and bedside debridement of burn eschar. Excised patients had shorter hospitalizations and lower rates of burn wound sepsis and serious burn wound contamination, and less use of potentially toxic antibiotics (p less than 0.05) than did the prognostically equivalent group treated before the introduction of early excision. Excised patients required more blood transfusions (p less than 0.05), but did not differ significantly from controls in rates of mortality or other inpatient complications, in the number of operations performed, or in the adjusted hospital costs. Evaluation of patients treated over the entire study period for more shallow burns indicated no concurrent change in other aspects of burn care which might account for the observed results. We conclude that early excision and grafting in young, otherwise healthy patients with 20 to 40 percent total body surface area burns that are likely to heal within 3 weeks is more effective than the more traditional management of slow wound separation and debridement.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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