OBJECTIVES: To compare postoperative healing of split-thickness skin graft (STSG) donor sites using traditional dressings (paraffin gauze) or modern wound dressings (alginate dressing and polyurethane film) in a randomized controlled trial.
METHOD: Thirty patients were randomly assigned to treatment of an STSG donor site with an alginate dressing and a polyurethane film or nonadherent paraffin gauze. Outcome variables were pain (measured with a visual analog scale), amount of dressing changes, healing time, cosmetic outcome, treatment costs, and overall satisfaction with the procedure.
RESULTS: There was no significant difference in pain (postoperative day 1: 2.1 vs 1.2, P = .26; postoperative days 5–7: 1.0 vs 0.9, P = .47; final removal: 1.9 vs 1.0, P = .19) and time to healing (18.1 vs 15.4 days, P = .29) between alginate/polyurethane film dressing and nonadherent paraffin gauze. The semiocclusive dressings with polyurethane film required multiple dressing changes, whereas the nonadherent paraffin gauze could be left in place until complete epithelialization. Treatment costs were substantially lower for paraffin gauze.
CONCLUSIONS: Semiocclusive dressings with alginate dressings and polyurethane film showed no advantages over treatment with paraffin gauze. With lower costs and better patient acceptance, paraffin gauze dressings were the preferred treatment for STSG donor sites.