Efficacy of enzymatic debridement of deeply burned hands

Burns. 2012 Feb;38(1):108-12. doi: 10.1016/j.burns.2011.06.002. Epub 2011 Nov 21.


Background: The burned hand is a common and difficult to care-for entity in the field of burns. Due to the anatomy of the hand (important and delicate structures crowded in a small limited space without sub-dermal soft tissue), surgical debridement of the burned tissue is technically difficult and may cause considerable complications and, therefore, should be performed judiciously. Selective enzymatic debridement of the burn wound can preserve the spontaneous epithelialisation potential and reduce the added injury to the traumatised tissue added by a surgical debridement.

Objective: The aim of the study was to assess the implication of a selective enzymatic compound (Debrase(®) - Ds) in the special field of deep hand burns, by comparing the actual burn area that required surgical coverage after enzymatic debridement to the burn area clinically judged to require skin grafting prior to debridement.

Materials and methods: This was a retrospective data collection and analysis from 154 complete files of prospective, open-label study in 275 hospitalised, Ds-treated burn patients.

Results: A total of 69 hand burns diagnosed as 'deep' was analysed; 36% of the wounds required surgical intervention after enzymatic debridement; 28.6% of the total burned area estimated initially as deep was covered by skin graft (statistically significant p<0.001).

Conclusion: Debridement of deep-hand burns with a selective enzymatic agent decreased the perceived full-thickness wound area and skin-graft use.

MeSH terms

  • Bromelains / therapeutic use*
  • Burns / drug therapy*
  • Burns / surgery
  • Debridement / methods*
  • Gels
  • Hand Injuries / drug therapy*
  • Hand Injuries / surgery
  • Humans
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Skin Transplantation / statistics & numerical data


  • Gels
  • Bromelains