This was a randomised controlled trial set up in a single burns centre in Manila in the Philippines. Inclusion criteria were superficial burns not requiring skin grafting, and up to 10% total body surface area in young, fit adults between the ages of 18 and 45, seen within 24 hours of the injury. Twenty-six patients were randomised into a ‘Treatment’ group where conventional dressing with topical application of petrolatum gel only was applied to the wound with no other top dressing, while 24 patients were randomised into the ‘Control’ group with topical silver sulfadiazine and gauze top dressings. The dressings were changed daily and assessed for re-epithelialisation, infection and allergic dermatitis. The patients were also assessed for ease of change of dressing as well as time taken and pain during the process. The conclusions were that topical petrolatum gel alone without top dressings was at least as good as silver sulfadiazine with gauze dressings in healing small, superficial burns, with no increased incidence of infection, or allergic dermatitis, and in fact the results were skewed towards a shorter healing time, by at least one day. However, the authors conclude that the numbers in the study were small and so difficult to fully interpret, however, they felt that this may have significant cost implications for treating small burns.

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.
Genuino GAS, Baluyut-Angeles KV, Espiritu APT, et al.

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Hilal I Bahia

St John's Hospital, Livingston, UK.

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