Seaweed, sheep’s wool and spider webs: randomised controlled trial of split-thickness skin graft donor site dressings in children’s burns.

Dr Craig McBride1,2, Professor Roy Kimble1,2, Associate Professor Kellie Stockton1,2

1Pegg Leditschke Children’s Burns Centre, Centre for Children’s Burns and Trauma Research, University of Queensland, Queensland, Australia, 2Surgical Team: Infants, Toddlers, Children (STITCh); Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital, South Brisbane, Australia


Trial Design
This is a parallel 3-arm prospective randomised controlled trial comparing Algisite™ M, Cuticerin™, and Sorbact® as donor site dressings in paediatric split-thickness skin grafts. The setting is the largest paediatric burns service in Queensland, Australia.

Methods:All children for split-thickness skin grafting, with buttock or thigh donor sites, were considered for enrolment in the trial. Primary outcome measures were days to re-epithelialisation, and pain. Partial blinding of assessors was possible, with blinded photographic assessments of re-epithelialisation.

Results:There were 33 patients randomised to the Algisite™ M arm, 32 to the Cuticerin™ arm, and 36 to the Sorbact® arm between April 2015 and July 2016.
There were no significant differences between the three arms regarding pain, or time to re-epithelialisation. There were no significant differences with respect to the secondary outcomes of itch, scarring, or cost. Regression analyses demonstrated faster healing in younger patients, and decreased donor site scarring at 3 and 6 months with thinner split-thickness skin grafts.

Conclusion:There are no data from this trial to support a preference for one of these three dressings. Thinner skin grafts lead to less donor site scarring. Younger patients have faster donor site wound healing.

Trial Registration and Funding
Australia and New Zealand Clinical Trials Register (ACTRN12614000380695).
Royal Children’s Hospital Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC/14/QRCH/36).
University of Queensland Medical Research Ethics Committee (#2014000447).
The trial was funded in part by a grant from Abigo Medical AB. This company had no part in the trial design, conduct, analysis, or publication.


Craig McBride is a children’s burns surgeon. He’s experimenting with being a clinical researcher.

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