Using a novel wound model to investigate the healing properties of products for superficial wounds

J Wound Care. 2009 Mar;18(3):123-28, 131. doi: 10.12968/jowc.2009.18.3.39813.


Objective: To establish a new wound model that can induce uniform abrasions and use it to assess the healing properties of a range of products commonly applied to these wounds.

Method: Ten healthy volunteers were enrolled into an open-label, randomised, intra-individual comparison pilot study. Five standardised, superficial abrasions were induced on their forearms by repeatedly scrubbing the skin with a surgical brush until the first signs of uniform glistening and punctuate bleeding were observed. Three products that promote a moist wound environment (polyurethane, hydrocolloid, hydrogel) and two standard plasters were randomly allocated to the test areas.

Results: Evaluation of wound healing on days 2, 5, 8 and 14 +/- 1 showed best results for the polyurethane and hydrocolloid plasters. Visible re-epithelialisation was recorded on days 5 and 8. More than 50% of the wound area had closed. Video microscope images support these findings. The investigator and volunteers assessed cosmetic outcomes on day 31 +/- 2. Best results were obtained for the polyurethane and hydrocolloid products, which had high mean scores close to the maximum of 10. Histological examination of biopsies taken from the abrasions of two volunteers showed the dermis remained intact, making the model highly suitable for the study of superficial wounds.

Conclusion: Uniform and identical standardised wounds created using an abrasive brush technique can be used to reliably detect differences in the performance of plasters intended for superficial wounds. In general, products that promote a moist wound environment produced better results than those that promote a dry wound environment, with an earlier onset of healing and better healing outcomes. Superficial cutaneous wounds treated with polyurethane or hydrocolloid products demonstrated superior rates of re-epithelialisation and overall cosmetic outcomes.

Declaration of interest: This study was funded by Beiersdorf AG. Neither author has any interest in the sponsor's commercial activities.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bandages, Hydrocolloid*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Models, Biological*
  • Occlusive Dressings*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Polyurethanes
  • Reference Standards
  • Research Design
  • Wound Healing*
  • Wounds and Injuries / pathology
  • Wounds and Injuries / therapy*


  • Polyurethanes