The effect of sucralfate, an agent for gastroprotection
on the healing of split thickness skin graft donor sites
H. İbrahim Inal
Received: 30 December 2006 / Accepted: 2 March 2007 / Published online: 28 April 2007
Abstract Skin is the most commonly used tissue for the
transplantation. A meticulous care of the donor site is
needed to prevent scarring, delayed healing, and pain.
Various agents and dressing materials have been reported to
help healing of skin graft donor sites. Sucralfate is an
extensively used agent, which provides acute gastroprotec-
tion and acceleration of chronic ulcer healing. In this study,
we assessed the effects of topical sucralfate on the healing
of the split thickness skin graft donor sites in a prospective
comparative way. The study was carried out on 32
randomly chosen patients undergoing surgery for various
causes and requiring split thickness skin graft resurfacing.
The upper halves of the skin graft donor sites on the thighs
were simply covered with paraffin gauze and the lower half
was covered with sucralfate-soaked paraffin gauzes. The
day of full epithelization varied from 6 to 9 days and 8–
12 days on the sucralfate-applied areas and on the control
sites, respectively. The mean value of the healing was
7.01 days in the studied lower halves and 10.8 days in the
upper halves. The healing rate was strikingly faster and less
painful on the sucralfate-applied areas. We were able to
discharge patients earlier than usual, and patients’ comfort
increased. It seems that sucralfate is a promising topical
agent to increase the healing rate and decrease the incidence
of associated problems such as pain and hypertrophic scar.
Donor site healing
Skin is the most commonly used tissue for transplantation.
The most common indications are for resurfacing of tissue
loss due to surgery, trauma, and burns . Meticulous care
of the donor site is needed to prevent scarring, delayed
healing, and pain. The open wound care is not a
recommended practice because it delays the healing and
causes increased pain throughout the healing period.
Various modalities have been proposed and developed to
treat the split thickness skin graft donor sites with varying
outcomes [1, 2, 3, 12, 14, 16, 18, 21, 22]. The ideal split
thickness skin graft donor site should result in minimal
discomfort, require minimal nursing care, allow rapid
healing, and avoid long-term sequelae such as hypo-
pigmentation or hypertrophic scarring .
Sucralfate is an agent that provides acute gastroprotec-
tion and acceleration of chronic ulcer healing .
Sucralfate is a basic amino salt of sucrose octasulfate and
binds to the matrix protein of a peptic ulcer and protects it
from pepsin and gastric acid. Although advances have been
made in understanding the mechanism of its action of
sucralfate, the exact mechanism of action is not clearly
defined as to its healing of ulcers.
In this study, we assessed the effects of topical sucralfate
on the healing of the split thickness skin graft donor sites in
a prospective comparative way. It was hypothesized that
topical sucralfate could have a positive effect on the healing
rate of donor sites.
Materials and methods
Following the ethics committee’s approval, the study was
carried out on 32 randomly chosen patients undergoing
surgery for various causes and requiring split thickness skin
graft resurfacing (Table 1). The consents were obtained from
Eur J Plast Surg (2007) 30:25–28
H. İ. Inal
Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery,
Diskapi Yıldırım Beyazıt Hospital,
B. Civelek (*)
Birlik Mah. Zirvekent,
435. Cad. 52/50 Cankaya,