Use of honey as an adjunct in the healing of split-thickness skin graft donor site

Dermatol Surg. 2003 Feb;29(2):168-72. doi: 10.1046/j.1524-4725.2003.29043.x.


Background: Different techniques are being used in treatment of split-thickness skin graft donor sites; however, there is not a widely accepted method established for these partial-thickness wounds. It is well known that honey has been very effective in the treatment of various types of wounds, but there is not any information about the usage of honey as split-thickness skin graft donor site dressing in the literature.

Objective: To evaluate and compare the effectiveness of honey-impregnated gauzes, hydrocolloid dressings, and as a conventional dressing, saline-soaked gauzes for skin graft donor sites.

Methods: This is a nonrandomized, prospective, open-label (noncontrolled), side-by-side comparison trial of various options that are available for second-intention healing of donor site for split-thickness skin grafts. Eighty-eight patients who underwent skin grafting were observed using two different groups. In the first group, the donor site was divided into two equal halves, with each half being treated with honey-soaked gauzes and the other half with paraffin gauzes (group 1A), hydrocolloid dressings (group 1B), and saline-soaked gauzes (group 1C) alternatively. In the second group, two separate donor sites were formed, with one of them being treated with honey-impregnated gauzes (groups 2A-C) and the other one treated with either paraffin gauzes (group 2A), hydrocolloid dressings (group 2B), or saline-soaked gauzes (group 2C). The healing time, rate of infection, and sense of pain were evaluated. RESULTS. : In the treatment of split-thickness skin graft donor sites, honey-impregnated gauzes showed faster epithelization time and a low sense of pain than paraffin gauzes and saline-soaked gauzes. There was no significant difference between honey-impregnated gauzes and hydrocolloid dressings with regard to epithelization time and sense of pain.

Conclusion: The use of honey-impregnated gauzes is effective, safe, and practical. Honey can be an alternative material for the split-thickness skin graft donor site treatment.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Honey*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain Measurement
  • Prospective Studies
  • Skin Transplantation*
  • Wound Healing*