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The Use of Bioelectric Dressings in Skin Graft Harvest Sites: A Prospective Case Series

Blount, Andrew L. MD*,†; Foster, Sarah MD; Rapp, Derek A. MD*,†; Wilcox, Richard MD

Journal of Burn Care & Research: May/June 2012 - Volume 33 - Issue 3 - p 354–357
doi: 10.1097/BCR.0b013e31823356e4
Original Articles

Despite advances in wound care treatments for the management of acute and chronic wounds, there remains an unmet need for interventions that accelerate epithelialization. Many authors in the past have advocated the use of electric currents to accelerate wound healing. Novel wound dressings with inherent electric activity are emerging, and studies of these specific modalities are lacking. The principal aim of this study is to evaluate the impact of a bioelectric dressing on acute wound healing. Thirteen patients who underwent skin grafting were enrolled. One half of all skin graft donor sites were treated with the bioelectric dressing and semi-occlusive dressing (SOD) and the other half using solely a SOD. Epithelialization was rated by a blinded burn surgeon attending. Participants also provided a self-assessment of their scar appearance. At week 1 postprocedure, average epithelialization of 71.8% was noted on the bioelectric dressing-treated side, compared with 46.9% on the SOD side, representing an average 34.62% faster wound healing (P = .015). At 1 month, patients rated the bioelectric dressing-treated half as superior in terms of scar color (P = .198), stiffness (P = .088), thickness (P = .038), and overall quality (P = .028). These early data show promise in terms of faster healing, improved scarring, and improved patient subjective outcome with the use of the bioelectric dressing on acute wounds. With fulfillment of an extended study population, the authors hope to provide a solid foundation for extrapolating their data beyond skin graft donor sites to all areas of wound care.

*From the Grand Rapids Medical Education Partners/Michigan State University Plastic Surgery Residency

Grand Rapids Medical Education Partners/Michigan State University General Surgery Residency

Blodgett Hospital Regional Burn Center, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Presented at Plastic Surgery 2010, Toronto, Canada, October 4, 2010 (Research Section). Abstract only was published in supplement to Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery journal and presented at the Symposium on Advanced Wound Care Spring Meeting 2010, Orlando, Florida, April 19, 2010.

Address correspondence to Andrew L. Blount, MD, Grand Rapids Medical Education Partners/Michigan State University Plastic Surgery Residency, 221 Michigan St NE, Suite 200a, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49503.

© 2012 The American Burn Association