Donor site dressings: how much do they affect pain?

Megan Grigg1, Cienwen Town2, Jason Brown3

1 Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital; Herston QLD, 4029, 2 Research Nurse, Department of Perioperative Medicine, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, Herston, QLD 4029 3 Director of Burns, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, Herston, QLD 4029


Pain causes significant distress in burn patients and is both neuropathic and nociceptive in character. Background pain is usually managed with regular, long-acting medications whilst dressing changes require breakthrough analgesia. Dressing changes remain a substantial source of acute pain but are a necessary evil. This audit focuses on Suprathel® used specifically in donor sites and the effect it has on both analgesia and opiate requirements. Data was collected retrospectively over a three-month period at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital Professor Stuart Pegg Adult Burns Centre. All patients who received Suprathel® (under the discretion of the consultant surgeon) and had small burns <5% TBSA were included in the audit. This data was then compared to previously collected data involving patients who had standard dressing care – Algisite. Pain scores and opiate requirements were then compared between the two. This audit demonstrates the importance of choosing appropriate dressings and the benefits of pain reducing dressings. Suprathel® is emerging as an alternative to standard dressings as both a way of reducing dressing changes and improving analgesia.

Dr Megan Grigg is a resident medical officer at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital with a keen interest in research and analgesia.

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