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Journal of the Dermatology Nurses' Association

August 2011, Volume 3 Number 4 , p 232 - 234


  • Allison Sutton


Draelos, Z., Rizer, R., & Trookman, N. (2011). A comparison of postprocedural wound care treatments: Do antibiotic-based ointments improve outcomes? Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 64, S23-S29.During the day-to-day practice of dermatology, many small wounds are created during minor surgical procedures. The current theory dictates that a moist, occlusive environment is necessary to promote wound healing. Patients are often directed to apply an antibiotic-based ointment daily to the wounds to prevent wound infections. This practice is based on studies from the 1960s and 1970s, which showed a decrease in wound infection rates when antibiotic-based ointments were used. These studies were performed on war wounds and on abrasions from the playground in schoolchildren; therefore, the results may not be applicable to the type of wounds created in dermatology offices. More recent studies have shown that postprocedure wounds have a very low rate of infection (less than 1.5%) and that infection rates do not differ if treated with topical antibiotic ointments or white petrolatum. In addition to possibly not incurring any benefits, use of topical antibiotics have risks such as allergic contact dermatitis and the creation of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria.This group hypothesized that the prophylactic use of topical antibiotics for the treatment of superficial wounds is not necessary. They tested their hypothesis by conducting a 4-week, double-blind, multicenter trial of 30 White patients. The patients had shave excisions of two seborrheic keratoses from the opposite sides of their trunk. A petrolatum-based skin protectant ointment (Aquaphor healing ointment) was applied twice daily to one of the wounds, and a polymyxin B sulfate/bacitracin zinc ointment (Poly/Bac) was applied twice daily to the other. Wounds were kept covered for the first 7 days.Wound healing was assessed by grading erythema, edema, re-epithelialization, crusting, scabbing, and general

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