Topical petrolatum gel alone versus topical silver sulfadiazine with standard gauze dressings for the treatment of superficial partial thickness burns in adults: a randomized controlled trial

Glenn Angelo S Genuino, Kathrina Victoria Baluyut-Angeles, Andre Paolo T Espiritu, Marie Carmela M Lapitan, Brian S Buckley
Burns 2014, 40 (7): 1267-73

BACKGROUND: Non-extensive superficial partial thickness burns constitute a major proportion of burns. Conventional treatment involves regular changing of absorptive dressings including the application of a topical antimicrobial, commonly silver sulfadiazine. A systematic review has found insufficient evidence to support or refute such antimicrobial prophylaxis. Another review compared silver sulfadiazine dressings with other occlusive and non-antimicrobial dressings and found insufficient evidence to guide practice. Other research has suggested that dressings with petrolatum gel are as effective as silver sulfadiazine.

METHODS: Single-center, randomized, controlled parallel group trial comparing conventional silver sulfadiazine dressings with treatment with petrolatum gel alone. Consenting adults 18-45 years old with superficial partial thickness burns≤10% total body surface area seen within 24h of the injury were randomized to daily dressing either with petrolatum gel without top dressings or conventional silver sulfadiazine treatment with gauze dressings. Primary outcomes were blinded assessment of time to complete re-epithelialization, wound infection or allergic contact dermatitis. Secondary outcomes included assessment of ease, time and pain of dressing changes.

RESULTS: 26 patients were randomized to petrolatum and 24 to silver sulfadiazine dressings. Follow up data available for 19 in each group. Mean time to re-epithelialization was 6.2 days (SD 2.8) in the petrolatum group and 7.8 days (SD 2.1) in the silver sulfadiazine group (p=0.050). No wound infection or dermatitis was observed in either group. Scores for adherence to wound, ease of dressing removal and time required to change dressings were significantly better in the petrolatum treatment arm (p<0.01).

CONCLUSIONS: Petrolatum gel without top dressings may be at least as effective as silver sulfadiazine gauze dressings with regard to time to re-epithelialization, and incidence of infection and allergic contact dermatitis. Petrolatum gel appears to be an effective, affordable and widely available alternative in the treatment of minor superficial partial thickness burns in adults.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"