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UBC Reports | Vol. 50 | No. 4| Apr. 1, 2004

New Treatment for Hand Burns

Vacuum replaces cream

By Hilary Thomson

A third-year medical student has conducted the first Vancouver study of the effectiveness of vacuum therapy for acute hand burns.

The therapy, called vacuum assisted closure method (V.A.C.®), replaces traditional anti-infective creams by using a device that applies negative pressure -- or suction -- to the wound to remove pus, other fluids and dead cells while promoting healing.

Student researcher Brain Kai compared the method with the traditional treatment as part of a multicentre North American trial.

“The results seen in our first patient were very promising,” says the 25-year-old.

“The patient had less redness, numbness and scarring than his other hand that was treated with medicinal cream.”

Kai says the hardest part of the project was explaining the trial concept and procedures to the patient and reassuring him that the treatment was safe even though it had never been attempted on hand burns.

Kai presented his research to residents in UBC’s division of plastic surgery and hopes to enroll more patients in the study.

The project was supervised by Dr. Peter Lennox and research co-ordinator Wendy Cannon.

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Last reviewed 22-Sep-2006

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