1. Section Editor(s): Kennedy, Maureen Shawn MA, RN

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Silver-eluting antimicrobial dressings don't help leg ulcers. The use of antimicrobial silver dressings in the treatment of leg ulcers has become widespread, despite a paucity of research backing up the assumption that they lead to faster healing than simpler dressings. A recent study in the United Kingdom compared the use of silver-eluting dressings with standard low-adhesive bandages in 213 elderly patients with leg ulcers. Among wounds treated with silver dressings, 59.6% had healed by 12 weeks, compared with 56.7% among controls. By six months, 85% of wounds in the silver-dressing group and 77% in the control group had healed, and by one year 96% of ulcers in both groups had healed. The silver dressings cost about five times as much as the standard dressings, and the average total cost of treating patients with silver dressings was 30% higher than it was with standard dressings. Overall, there is "little to support the use of silver or any other antimicrobial dressings in the treatment of venous leg ulcers," write the authors in the October 2009 British Journal of Surgery.