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November 1953


Author Affiliations

From the Surgical Division of Homer G. Phillips Hospital, the Department of Surgery of the Jewish Hospital, and the Department of Surgery, Washington University School of Medicine.

AMA Arch Surg. 1953;67(5):661-669. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1953.01260040672004

THE APPLICATION of dressings to surgical wounds is a custom as old as recorded history. The chief reasons for applying dressings are for absorbing secretions, aiding hemostasis, splinting, obliterating dead spaces, protecting against trauma, and preventing contamination. Before aseptic surgery, perhaps the principle reason was to absorb secretions; with the advent of aseptic surgery, the main consideration was prevention of bacterial contamination. The present study was not an attempt to question the validity of using dressings or to impugn the above fundamental precepts. Instead, our purpose was to determine whether the application of a dressing per se had any significant effect on wound healing.

An attempt was made to evaluate this problem experimentally.1 We produced clean aseptic incised wounds of the abdominal walls of rabbits, obtained hemostasis, and carefully coaptated the edges, covering the wounds of half of the animals with dressings and leaving the others uncovered. Gross and

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