Eggs are great; they’re high in protein and have loads of vitamins and minerals. A clinical study out of Taiwan suggests they just might make the ultimate bandages.
Researchers from the Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital in Taipei, Taiwan tested the effectiveness of egg membranes as biological dressing. They compared egg membranes to a number of currently used dressings using criteria such as healing rate, pain relief, and infection prevention. Specifically:
Eighteen patients, with 28 STSG donor sites who were admitted to the LinKou Burn Center from August 1997 to July 1999, were selected for this trial. The bilateral thighs were the main donor sites for STSG. To compare different dressings, Surgilon, B.G.C. (beta-glucan collagen), and Biobrane were applied to the same donor sites, and epithelialization, pain relief, fluid accumulation, hematoma formation, and the occurrence of rejection or infection were monitored post-application.
For those unfamiliar, Surgilon is a braided suture of nylon polymers coated in silicone, commonly used in operating rooms to close wounds. Beta-glucan collagen (BCG) is a gas-permeable mesh constructed from complex carbohydrates naturally found in plants. BCG dressings are used for procedures involving donor sites, burns, lacerations, ulcers, and abrasions. Biobrane (R) is a biocomposite of a nylon matrix coated in silicone conjugated to collagen. Biobrane is to be especially effective in minimizing bacterial growth and being highly flexible to allow joint movement.
Yang et al. found that patients with egg membranes had shorter healing times than did the other dressings. Pain relief was comparable, and no infections were observed during the study.
The average wound healing time with egg membrane application was 11.64 +/- 1.29 (range, 10 to 13) days. Meanwhile, the average wound healing times for B.G.C. (6 patients) and Biobrane (6 patients) were 14.5 +/- 0.84 and 14.0 +/- 0.63 days, respectively. Finally, Surgilon (16 patients) had the longest healing time, at 16 +/- 1.41 days. On average, complete pain relief was achieved by 7.3 +/- 0.70 days for egg membrane application, while for B.G.C., Biobrane, and Surgilon, complete pain relief occurred by 7.0 +/- 0.89, 6.0 +/- 0.63, and 10.0 +/- 0.37 days, respectively.
Researchers note limitations using egg membranes. Notably, dressing sizes are limited by egg size. However, egg membranes show promise with quick healing rates and pain relief.