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SILVERLON: Battlefield Tested Antimicrobial Dressing Is Critical to Infection Prevention: Dr. (LTC) Julie A. Rizzo, MD, FACS, is a Burn/Trauma Surgeon at the United States Army Institute of Surgical Research Burn Center Burn Center in San Antonio, Texas


February 26, 2021

SILVERLON, Dr. Julie RizzoBy: Dr. (LTC) Julie A. Rizzo, MD, FACS, is a Burn/Trauma Surgeon at the United States Army Institute of Surgical Research Burn Center Burn Center in San Antonio, Texas

SILVERLON ®: Nowhere has the advantages of SILVERLON® antimicrobial silver-nylon wound technology been tested more intensely than in the hands of military surgeons.

As a burn and trauma surgeon for the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research Burn Center, I’ve personally seen the powerful advantages of SILVERLON dressing in treating hundreds of burn injuries — including during my three combat deployments. Faced with treating some of the most severe injuries in circumstances presenting relentless challenges to infection control, the antimicrobial advantage of SILVERLON technology has earned its stripes.

Power of pure metallic silver

Originally developed by Chicago-based Argentum Medical for military combat injuries, SILVERLON® antimicrobial technology is now used throughout the U.S. Military — and in healthcare settings around the world.

The military’s priority use of SILVERLON wound care products is due to critical factors of utmost importance in military medicine. SILVERLON uses a unique silver-plating process that delivers more pure metallic silver in the dressing than any other silver-based dressing — up to 100 times more than other impregnated dressings and five times more than crystalline silver dressings.

Because evacuation is not always immediately possible, SILVERLON is ideal for managing burn injuries in prolonged field care settings. Compared to conventional dressings, SILVERLON dressings are lightweight, durable and flexible to conform to diverse wound surfaces. In military environments, time and circumstances are limited for frequent dressing changes. Because of its seven-day efficacy that reduces the need for frequent changes, SILVERLON allows the military to conserve medical resources. Easy to store and transport, SILVERLON’S efficacy is not affected by severe temperature changes and has a five-year shelf life.

RAND Report Affirms Effectiveness of Silver-Plated Dressing

Key research findings about the effectiveness of silver-plated wound technology was recently featured in the 2020 RAND Corporation Report — “The Effect of Blast-Related Burn Injuries from Prolonged Field Care to Rehabilitation and Resilience: A Review of the Scientific Literature.” The RAND report affirmed silver-plated nylon effectiveness in infection prevention and prolonged care of military burn and blast injuries — a leading cause of fatality of service members.

RAND researchers conducted a rigorous, independent analysis of the research and a comprehensive literature review and synthesis of the evidence surrounding blast-related burn injuries. According to the RAND Report:

  • Infection control and prevention are critical to burn care, especially because research shows that pathogens to which service members are exposed in current combat operations are increasingly resistant to antibiotics.
  • Research shows that appropriate bandaging to avoid infection is critical; silver-nylon dressing has been found to be uniquely portable and easy to use and has key antimicrobial properties.
  • The report also includes a 2018 study that found “compared with topical antimicrobial agents, silver-nylon dressing had lower infection rates …”
  • Newer silver dressings are ideal for prolonged field care. They can be left in place for seven days without being changed and can be rewetted to be used again.
  • Studies yielding direct applications — such as investigations finding that silver-nylon dressing is uniquely portable and easy-to-use and has key antimicrobial properties — might serve as guideposts for standard setting.

SILVERLON’s antimicrobial benefits give many burn patients a shot at avoiding surgery. SILVERLON is equally effective as a post-operative dressing. Unlike other dressings, SILVERLON can be applied directly to fresh skin grafts without adhering to the wound.

The simplicity of SILVERLON is particularly beneficial for personnel without extensive medical training. One example I experienced during a deployment was a local national soldier who scalded her foot, a burn that is particularly challenging and can quickly progress.  Concerned about infection, we quickly showed her how to use Silverlon, and in just a few days, she was able to put on her boots and return to the field.

As SILVERLON research and collaboration expands in both military and civilian medical arenas, the ultimate battle to improve clinical outcomes is something we all can get behind.

About the author

Dr. (LTC) Julie A. Rizzo, MD, FACS, is a burn/trauma surgeon at the United States Army Institute of Surgical Research Burn Center (USAISR) Burn Center at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas. Since 2014, Dr. Rizzo has cared for hundreds of critically injured burn and trauma patients — including three combat deployments. Dr. Rizzo completed a completed a clinical burn fellowship at the USAISR Burn Center and a Surgical Critical Care fellowship at the Brooke Army Medical Center. Dr. Rizzo is currently lead investigator for over 15 clinical research projects.

Medical Device News Magazine
Medical Device News Magazine is a division of PTM Healthcare Marketing, Inc. Pauline T. Mayer is the managing editor.

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