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Open Access Research article

Comparing oil based ointment versus standard practice for the treatment of moderate burns in Greece: a trial based cost effectiveness evaluation

Vilelmine J Carayanni1*, Evangelia G Tsati2, Georgia C H Spyropoulou3, Fotini N Antonopoulou4 and John D Ioannovich5

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Public Health, Faculty of Health and Caring Professions Technological Educational Institute of Athens, Saint Spyridonos Street, Egaleo 2210, Greece

2 5 Haras St., Halandri 1523, Athens, Greece

3 Department of Plastic Surgery, Thriasion Hospital, 19018 G. Gennimata Avenue, Magoula Attiki, Greece

4 "G. Gennimatas" General State Hospital of Athens, 154 Mesogion Avenue, Greece

5 Author deceased. In memory of Professor J. Ioannovich †(2003), Department of Plastic Surgery, Microsurgery and Burn Center, "G.Gennimatas" General State Hospital of Athens, Athens, 154 Mesogion Avenue, Greece

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BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2011, 11:122  doi:10.1186/1472-6882-11-122

Published: 1 December 2011



The local treatment of burn wounds has long been a subject of debate. The objective of this study was to compare the cost and the effectiveness of Moist Exposed Burn Ointment -MEBO versus a combination of povidone iodine plus bepanthenol cream for partial thickness burns.


The study was carried out in the Burn Center of a state hospital in Athens, Greece. 211 patients needing conservative therapy were prospectively selected according to the depth of the burn wound. The treatment was allocated according to the Stratified Randomization Design. The outcomes measured were mean cost of in-hospital stay, rate of complications, time of 50% wound healing, pain scores, in hospital stay diminution. We have adopted a societal perspective.


In the total groups MEBO presented lower cost, (although not significantly different: p = 0.10) and better effectiveness. The data suggest that MEBO is the dominant therapy for superficial partial burn wound with significantly lower costs and significantly higher effectiveness due to a lesser time of recovery and consequently lower time of hospitalization and follow-up. MEBO presented similar percentages of complications with the comparator, lower pain levels and smaller time of no healthy appearance of the burn limits for superficial partial thickness burns.


The data suggested that topical application of MEBO may be considered for further investigation as a potential first-line treatment modality for superficial partial thickness burns.

Trial registration

The trial has been registered on the International Standard Randomised Controlled Trial Number Register (ISRCTN) and given the registration number ISRCTN74058791.