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Lal Sophia; Barrow, Robert E.; Wolf, Steven E.; Chinkes, David L.; Hart, David W.; Heggers, John P.; Herndon, David N.


A synthetic bilaminar membrane used as a skin substitute (Biobrane®) has been shown to decrease pain and hospitalization in superficial second-degree burns. Despite these benefits, it has not been utilized universally, particularly in young children, due to a perceived increase in related infections. We propose that when this synthetic membrane is applied to superficial scald burns <25% of the total body surface area (TBSA), decreased healing times are expected without increased risk of infection. Between 1994-1999, 89 children treated within 48 h after receiving superficial partial thickness scald burns covering 5-25% TBSA with no indication of infection were seen at our hospital. Forty-one were assigned randomly to receive treatment with the skin substitute Biobrane and 48 to receive conservative treatment with topical antimicrobials and dressing changes. Comparisons of treatment were made between groups for length of hospitalization, wound healing times, and infectious complications. Children treated with Biobrane or topical antimicrobials were similar in age, race, sex, %TBSA burned, and location of burn. Those receiving Biobrane had shorter hospitalizations and healing times, which was significant for both infants and toddlers and older children. Treatment groups were not different in the use of systemic antibiotics or readmissions for infectious complications. Biobrane was removed in 5.9% of cases for non-adherence. The application of Biobrane within 48 h of superficial burns provides for shorter hospitalizations and faster healing times in children of all ages without increased risk of infection.

Presented at the 20th Annual Meeting of the Surgical Infection Society, April 27-29, 2000, Providence, RI.

Supported by NIH Training Grant #2-T32GM0825611. No financial ties exist between the authors and any corporate entity or product mentioned in the manuscript.

Address reprint requests to Steven E. Wolf, MD, Shriners Burns Hospital, 815 Market Street, Galveston TX, 77550.

©2000The Shock Society