The evolution of surgical dressings is traced from 1600 b.c. to a.d. 1944.
The availability of an increasing variety of man-made fibres and films from 1944 onwards has stimulated work on wound dressings, and some of the more important contributions, both clinical and experimental, are discussed. The functions of a wound dressing and the properties which the ideal wound dressing should possess are given. The necessity for both histological and clinical evaluation of wound dressings in animals and in man is stressed.
Wound dressings are the most commonly used therapeutic agents, but there is no means whereby their performance can be assessed. An attempt should be made either nationally or internationally to establish a standard method of assessing the performance of wound dressings. For this it is necessary to have an internationally agreed standard dressing which could be used as a reference or control dressing in all animal and human work. The only animal with skin morphologically similar to that of man is the domestic pig. Three types of wounds could be used: (1) partial-thickness wounds; (2) full-thickness excisions; and (3) third-degree burns.
The development of standard techniques for the assessment of the efficiency of wound dressings would be of considerable benefit to the research worker, the medical profession, the patient, and the surgical dressings industry.
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