Gel lessens burn dressing pain

CHARLOTTESVILLE, PA.; September 26, 2008

Dressing changes in the burn unit at the University of Virginia Medical Center are a lot more tolerable these days, thanks to a new medicated gel.

Dr. George Rodeheaver, the creator of Plurogel, says, "Nobody ever enjoys a dressing change, but compared to the screams and moans and the squinches and everything else that we had before, this is a tremendous benefit to the patient."

Dr. Rodeheaver says Plurogel both heals wounds and fight infections.

It's water soluble, which makes it easier to remove bandages, and any left over residue.

Dr. Rodeheaver says, "If it's not water soluble, we end up having to scrape the residue off and its extremely painful for the patients. It takes a lot of time."

The medicated gel is spread onto a gauze pad, then placed on the burn.

"The next morning," says the doctor, "we lift it off. And most of it is dissolved into the wound, and it's a perfectly clean wound. If there is a residue, you just spray a little water on it, it rinses right off."

The extra infection-fighting power of Plurogel is a big plus during the time burns heal over.

Dr. David Drake, a plastic surgeon, says, "During that process, which may take 2 or 3 weeks in some of the patients, we need to prevent the infection from getting in. And that's what it does."

Dr. Rodeheaver holds a patent on the gel, and is now applying to the government for approval.

He believes it could be on the market within 3 years.

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