Comparing Banana Leaf Dressing and Vaseline Gauze Dressing for Split-Thickness Skin Graft Donor Sites in a Ugandan Hospital

Naomi Leah Kekisa, George Galiwango, Andrew Hodges

Department of Plastic Surgery, Mbarara University of Science and Technology.

Correspondence to: Dr. Naomi Leah Kekisa, Email: 

Received: 14 November 2019; Revised: 18 April 2020; Accepted: 25 April 2020; Available online: 30 April 2020


Background: This study compared the effectiveness of banana leaf dressing (BLD) with the commonly used Vaseline gauze dressing (VGD) on split-thickness skin graft (SSG) donor sites. VGD is not completely non-adherent and is associated with pain on removal. BLD is smooth, non-adherent, pain-free and available. Methods: In this prospective study, consecutive patients were dressed with either BLD or VGD. Ease of applying and removing the dressings was scored. Pain scores were taken on postoperative days 3, 5, 7, 9 and 10. On day 10, the dressing was changed, epithelialization recorded and a swab taken for microbial culture. Average cost of each dressing was calculated. Results: There was no significant difference between postoperative pain scores with either dressing (p=0.992). BLD patients had less pain on dressing change (p=0.006). Both dressings were easy to apply; BLD was easier to remove (p=0.000). Wounds with BLD re-epithelialized faster (p=0.0158). 40% of wounds grew no organism on microbial culture, 25% grew Staphylococcus aureus and 35% grew unusual organisms (p=0.482). VGD was 4 times more expensive than BLD (p=0.000). Conclusion: Banana leaf dressing is effective and highly recommended for dressing SSG donor sites.

Trial registration: PACTR202002762137087


Keywords: Split-thickness skin graft, Donor sites, Banana leaf dressing, Vaseline gauze dressing

Ann Afr Surg. 2021;18(1):4–9


Conflicts of Interest: None

Funding: None

© 2021 Author. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


The Annals of African Surgery is the official publication of the Surgical Society of Kenya.


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