The management of the donor site after harvesting a skin graft is an important issue, as patients often report more discomfort at the donor site than at the recipient site. There is, however, a plethora of dressings available for the treatment and management of donor sites, yet, there is no widely accepted method established for these partial thickness wounds. Honey has been found to be useful in the treatment of burns and other wounds, split-thickness skin graft donor sites are like partial thickness burn wounds and honey's healing effect on burn wound can also be expected on these types of wounds. Therefore, this study was undertaken to evaluate the effect of honey on skin graft donor sites. From 2002 to 2004, 100 patients who have undergone skin grafting for various reasons formed the material of the randomized study divided into two groups of 50 each in honey-treated group and Vaseline gauze-treated group. Graft donor site area ranged from 30 to 48 cm(2), mean 32.6 cm(2). In the group treated with honey, 90 % of the patients had nil or only moderate pain, whereas in the group treated with Vaseline gauze,88 % had nil or mild pain (p > 0.001, not significant). There were no allergic reactions in any of the patients in either group. On opening of the dressing on the 7th day, epithelialization has occurred in 48 patients as compared to 39 in group 2, i.e., donor sites treated with Vaseline gauze (p < 0.05, statistically significant). By the 10th day, all the wounds healed in honey-treated group, whereas 76 % of wounds healed in Vaseline gauze-treated group (p < 0.05). At 1 month follow-up, the results were comparable in both groups, with regard to patient satisfaction. In conclusion, honey-impregnated gauze causes less pain and heals donor sites wounds faster with good cosmetic result.
Keywords: Honey; Skin graft donor site; Wound healing.