UBC Reports | Vol. 50 | No. 4| Apr.
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
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
Student researcher Brain Kai compared the method with the
traditional treatment as part of a multicentre North American
“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
The project was supervised by Dr. Peter Lennox and research
co-ordinator Wendy Cannon.