This leaflet answers some of the most commonly asked questions about Biobrane®.  If you have queries or concerns, or would like to talk about anything related to your treatment, please speak to one of the health care team responsible for your burn management.

What is Biobrane®?

Biobrane® (a type of artificial skin) is a man made skin substitute composed of nylon mesh, silicone and collagen (derived from pig skin).  It is a stretchable dressing that is used as a temporary cover for clean partial thickness burns and donor sites or as a protective covering over meshed skin grafts.  It will stay in place to protect your wound while it heals.

What are the benefits of Biobrane®?

  • It reduces pain and anxiety when compared to traditional treatments and dressing changes
  • It reduces pain and trauma throughout the whole healing process
  • It offers more mobility due to greater flexibility (stretch ability) of the dressing
  • It acts as a barrier to external contamination
  • It reduces healing time which allows for a quicker discharge home and return to activities of daily living

What is an alternative option?

There are a range of similar dressings that can be used to cover a wound.  However, when indicated, Biobrane® provides immediate wound cover.

Ethical issues

Use of this dressing has been discussed with representative leaders of all major faiths in this country including Christian, Islamic, Jewish and Hindu *. They have suggested this dressing is acceptable; however you should make a decision based on the information given to you by the Burns team, including what the product is made of. Ultimately this is personal choice.

Is it safe? Are there any side effects?

If in the rare instance a patient shows evidence of an allergic reaction to the product, it would be removed immediately and its use discontinued.

There are no known problems that have been identified by health care professionals when using Biobrane®.

Will I need a general anaesthetic?

Most patients have Biobrane® applied under a general anaesthetic in an operating theatre or similar clean environment.

You are perfectly within your rights to choose not to have this procedure and alternatives can be discussed with a member of the health care team.

What should I expect?

You will receive clear instructions from a member of the healthcare team. For the first few days after application do not remove the outer dressing and do not get the dressing wet. 

After this time the staff will remove the outer dressing down to the Biobrane® and check for adherence (whether it is stuck down).

It may be necessary for the staff to trim away any areas of the Biobrane that have not adhered, or where a collection of fluid has built up. The Biobrane will also not adhere to healed areas of the wound.

For the first few days, some fluid from your wound or donor site will drain through the Biobrane®. This is normal, and the outer dressing will absorb this fluid.

As your wound or donor site heals, the Biobrane® will become dry and the healing areas may itch.  The outer dressing is no longer required.

About 7 to 14 days after the dressing was placed, it will begin to lift off at the edges.  The staff will trim any Biobrane® that is lifting and not stuck down.

Once the Biobrane® is removed, the skin will be pink or dark red with white flaky areas. This is normal.  Moisturising cream or lotion should be applied to these healed areas as advised by the burns staff. Massage, moisturising and sun protection are the key elements of healing at this stage.

The pink or dark red colour should fade away in time.

Will I feel it?  Does it hurt?

You may require pain relief if your wound hurts during the first few days after application of the Biobrane®. 

Take pain medication as directed by your doctor and nurses.

As time passes and the wound begins to heal you may feel the area becomes tender or itchy – this is normal, but if it becomes irritating please inform one of the staff.

Will I be able to have a bath or shower?

The burns staff will advise you when you may bathe or shower.

Will it work?

Biobrane® has proven to be an effective part of our burn wound management programme.

What are the risks of Biobrane®?

There are risks associated with any procedure, and in the case of burn wound care these are pain, bleeding and infection. These happen very rarely and if any of them do occur, the health care professional will take appropriate action, including seeking assistance if required.

Will I have a scar?

This will be dependent on the length of time it takes for the wound to heal, and can vary between individuals.  It is a consequence of the burn injury and not the dressing. 

The burns staff will advise you on how to best manage the healed  area once your wound has completely healed.

What happens after this type of treatment? 

The nursing staff will make a follow-up appointment when you are discharged.

Please call the burns staff if any of the following occur:

  • Increased redness, swelling or warmth in the skin around the wound
  • Fluid building up under the Biobrane® (looking ‘mucky’)
  • Bad smell coming from the wound
  • Any nausea or vomiting
  • Feel feverish or shivery with a temperature above 100.5°F or 37.5ºCF
  • Increasing pain
  • Bleeding





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