The metal silver is well known to have antimicrobial properties and this underlies its incorporation into the many types of silver releasing wound dressings available in the UK. These products are classed as ‘advanced’ dressings and were developed primarily for difficult to heal wounds, chronic ulcers and extensive burns.1 The use of silver dressings has increased rapidly in recent years in the UK, with the amount spent on such products in the NHS being around £23million in 2005 and around £25million in 2006/7.2,3 The latter figure represents a quarter of the total cost of wound dressings, with one seventh of the wound dressing items prescribed being silver dressings.3 Here we discuss the evidence on the place of silver dressings in burns, chronic ulcers and acute wounds.
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