Silver deposits in cutaneous burn scar tissue is a common phenomenon following application of a silver dressing

Wang, Xue-Qing, Chang, Hong-En, Francis, Rod, Olszowy, Henry, Liu, Pei-Yun, Kempf, Margit, Cuttle, Leila, Kravchuk, Olena, Phillips, Gael E., & Kimble, Roy M. (2009) Silver deposits in cutaneous burn scar tissue is a common phenomenon following application of a silver dressing. Journal Of Cutaneous Pathology, 36(7), pp. 788-792.

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Silver dressings have been widely and successfully used to prevent cutaneous wounds, including burns, chronic ulcers, dermatitis and other cutaneous conditions, from infection. However, in a few cases, skin discolouration or argyria-like appearances have been reported. This study investigated the level of silver in scar tissue post-burn injury following application of Acticoat, a silver dressing.


A porcine deep dermal partial thickness burn model was used. Burn wounds were treated with this silver dressing until completion of re-epithelialization, and silver levels were measured in a total of 160 scars and normal tissues.


The mean level of silver in scar tissue covered with silver dressings was 136 microg/g, while the silver level in normal skin was less than 0.747 microg/g. A number of wounds had a slate-grey appearance, and dissection of the scars revealed brown-black pigment mostly in the middle and deep dermis within the scar. The level of silver and the severity of the slate-grey discolouration were correlated with the length of time of the silver dressing application.


These results show that silver deposition in cutaneous scar tissue is a common phenomenon, and higher levels of silver deposits and severe skin discolouration are correlated with an increase in the duration of this silver dressing application.

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20 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 67221
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Animals, Burns/metabolism/pathology/*therapy, Cicatrix/metabolism/pathology/*therapy, Dermis/metabolism/pathology, Female, Humans, Pigmentation/*drug effects, Polyesters/*adverse effects/pharmacology, Polyethylenes/*adverse effects/pharmacology, Silver/*adverse effects/*metabolism/pharmacology, Swine
DOI: 10.1111/j.1600-0560.2008.01141.x
ISSN: 0303-6987
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Biomedical Sciences
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Inc
Deposited On: 26 Feb 2014 23:36
Last Modified: 25 Mar 2014 05:30

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