Silver is commonly used in wound dressings and topical formulations to assist in the management of wounds that are infected or at risk of becoming infected. They provide potent broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity, but should not cause sustained staining of the skin, dermal or systemic accumulation of silver, or discomfort to the patient. However, clinicians and healthcare personnel have been concerned about topical staining of the skin and complaints of additional pain from patients treated with certain silver dressings. Some delay in re-epithelialization has also been noticed and reported. The reasons for this are not clear, and the authors believed further study regarding the possible effects of silver accumulation and silver dressings' effect on re-epithelialization was required. The authors studied possible silver accumulation and re-epithelialization in normal human dermal skin. The results showed that most of the dressings or treatments discolored the wound surface and that there was a dermal accumulation of what were assumed to be silver particles. Varying grades of accumulation were found in deep dermal tissue, particularly around blood vessels, depending on the dressing used. The results also indicated that all of the tested products delayed re-epithelialization in this model. .
2009. Vol. 21, no 5