Current Trauma Reports

, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp 160–168 | Cite as

The Current State of Topical Burn Treatments: a Review

  • Danielle LaSalle HashmiEmail author
  • Linwood HaithJr.
Burns (N Namias, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Burns


Purpose of Review

The purpose of this review is to discuss commonly used dressings for burn treatments, including short-acting topicals and long-acting silver dressings.

Recent Findings

Recent literature supports the use of long-acting silver dressings over traditional daily use topical treatments. Longer acting topical dressings result in less frequent dressing changes, less pain, and greater ease of use, but have similar results in wound healing and infection prevention.


There are many topical agents on the market for use on burn wounds. Short-acting topicals can be divided into 3 generalized classes: antiseptics, antimicrobials, and enzymatic debridement agents. Longer acting applied dressings include silver-bonded nylon and fiber (Silverlon® Argentum, Clarendon Hills, IL); multilayer rayon, polyester silver-coated mesh polyethylene (Acticoat™ Smith & Nephew London, UK); silver sodium carboxymethylcellulose (Aquacel® Ag, ConvaTec, Greensboro, NC); silver-containing soft silicone foam (Mepilex® Ag; Mölnlycke Health Care, Gothenburg); soft silicone silver (Mepitel Ag® Mölnlycke Health Care, Gothenburg). Tradition and surgeon preference are major influences on frequency of use. While recent literature supports using long-acting silver-based dressings over short-acting topicals, more research, particularly randomized controlled trials, is needed to provide evidence-based recommendations regarding their use.


Burn topicals Silver burn dressing Silver sulfadiazine Mepilex Ag Aquacel Ag Acticoat Mepitel Ag 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Dr. Haith has nothing to disclose. Dr. Hashmi has nothing to disclose.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Nathan Speare Regional Burn Treatment CenterCrozer Chester Medical CenterChesterUSA
  2. 2.PhoenixvilleUSA

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