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ASDS 2008: Petrolatum Ointment Appears Safe, Effective for Mohs Micrographic Surgery Patients


November 10, 2008 (Orlando, Florida) — When treating the clean surgical wounds of Mohs micrographic surgery (MMS) patients, petrolatum ointment appears to help reduce infections and allergic reactions, according to results presented here at the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery 2008 Annual Meeting.

Findings from this large retrospective cohort study were presented in a poster session by Jennifer Fu, MD, Mohs Micrographic Surgery and Procedural Dermatology Fellow at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).

According to Dr.

Fu’s presentation, this study was designed to assess the incidence of and identify potential predictors of postoperative wound infection and allergic contact dermatitis in MMS patients using petrolatum ointment.

This was a nice sized study, and the only one of this kind to look just at the Mohs population,” said Dr.


There was one other study that was bigger, but it had all comers — not just Mohs patients.

She went on to explain that her center at UCSF recently switched to petrolatum from another product.

And while we had a low infection rate in the past, we wanted to show that the infection rate remained low when we switched over to this product, especially with Mohs patients, as this population is at risk [for these types of postoperative surgical-wound infections].

Over a follow-up period of 29 days, Dr.

Fu’s team evaluated the charts of 499 patients with 542 skin cancers treated postoperatively with petrolatum ointment between September 2007 and April 2008.

The mean age of the study population was 64.

The charts were assessed for demographic information, tumor characteristics, and risk factors.

Comparisons between groups were performed using the Wilcoxon rank-sum test for continuous variables and Pearson’s Chi-squared test for categorical variables.

The most common tumor in the study population was basal cell carcinoma (n = 394; 72.

The most common location for the tumors was on the nose (n = 151; 27.

At the end of the evaluation, results showed only 8 postoperative wound infections in 7 patients (1.

Most of these infections were associated with methicillin-sensitive Staphyloccus aureus.

Five of the infections were located on the nose, 2 on the cheek, and 1 on the scalp.

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