What is silver nitrate

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Can somebody please tell me why they use silver nitrate and what it does? Yesteday at a 5 week check-up by the surgeon, she used silver nitrate on my daughter's wound. It was healing very nicely and I do not know what the need was for using silver nitrate. She wants silver nitrate to be used every five days for the wound. Is this normal? Please help, I am panicking. The wound care nurse says it is healing normally and suddenly the surgeon suggests using silver nitrate. What is happening? Are black scars normal after silver nitrate is used?[:xx]
If it's healing nicely, I don't see what the need for silver nitrate is as it's primarily used to jumpstart a wound that is healing slowly or not at all.

Does she have granulation tissue and they are trying to burn that away? That would be the only other reason for the surgeon to use it.

For sure, I'd ask the surgeon what the REASON is for using it...especially if the wound care nurse has not mentioned overgranulation or slow healing...:confused:

It is a chemicle that will help to seal the wound. It will burn like hell for about 10 minutes and then lighten up depending on how deep the open wound is they may need to do this a coupel fo time to completely seal the would. I have had it done 5 times but my wold did not heal back up, when my surgery was doen they left a piece of the cyst and now it is back.
I'm a 22 year old male and had my surgery to remove my pilonidal cyst last November, and I'm still experiencing complications, but I'm very familiar with silver nitrate. It is PERFECTLY normal to use it for healing wounds. My surgeon and wound care doctors use it quite often on me. Essentially, the silver keeps the wound clean (ie. killing bacteria, and keeping bio-burden down). You may notice the wound drains a little more for several days after the application of the silver nitrate. Also perfectly normal. Since the silver is blackish/grey in color, the area will usually have a little discoloration at first. It is very difficult for bacteria to grow where silver nitrate is present, so it's mainly used for wound care and keeping the area clean. Hope this helps. Feel free to contact me if you want any more information. I'm sorry you and your daughter are dealing with this problem.
I disagree with the above statement in that MOST surgeons do not use silver nitrate as A PERFECTLY normal occurance in perfectly normal healing wounds. Most only use it if the wound is healing slowly or has stopped. TO my knowledge, most DO NOT use it on wounds that are healing cleanly.

Some might, for sure....but that is not the generally accepted procedure.
Thanks for your suggestions everybody. Maybe I'll contact the surgeon and ask why she suggests using silver nitrate every 5 days or so. This wound seems to be healing well so far.

So sorry to hear that they left a part of the cyst in there Sarge. That is the worst nightmare! Are they going to operate again? How does one know the surgeons got everything out? Are there signs or symptoms? Or does it just flare up again? OMG this is scary!
It actually happened to me as well... I split numerous times in the 8 or so months after my first surgery. The splitting is what let the surgeon know something went wrong! Good luck!
I would really press your surgeon on WHY you need the silver nitrate. I had an open excision that seemed to be healing well until week 4, when my surgeon started weekly applications of silver nitrate. He said it was for "excessive granulation tissue", yet there never really was any. I had minimal if any healing until week 10, when I sought a second opinion from another surgeon...he stopped all silver nitrate and my wound healed normally in 3 weeks (with no problems since).

I believe that silver nitrate has its role (in either a stagnant nonhealing wound OR excess granulation tissue overgrowing the wound), but in some cases (like mine) it really can retard healing.
Thanks for the info rdn3835! I'll address my concerns with the surgeon soon.

Jaredsmom it seems you read a lot about this disease. I sincerely think you should look into finding a cure for it without undergoing surgery. It would benefit a lot of people:):):)
Silver nitrate is used to assist the wound in what is called over-granulation. This is where the healing tissue actually becomes 'over-hydrated' and at worst scenarios the tissue grows above the wound site because no skin can heal on top of it.
Silver nitrate is used to "burn" some tissue down and dehydrate the tissue.

Unless you can actually see the wound and note the color differences between "pink" which is good healing and "deep red" which is over-granulation, you are unaware of the first signs over granulation.

I know in Australia silver nitrate has recently been discontinued, but it is one of the more common treatments in wounds with over-granulation, however there is no onne method more successful than the other.
i pretty well agree with everyones definitions and proper uses of silver nitrate.

i figure it must work on some people for some good of something but i have never had any good or bad results from using it and in my opinion, for me its hogwash. it burns like the dickens and is used continuously and for what. they used it on me twice a week for two years and thru 2 seperate surgerys and i just completed surgery number five. so what it prevented for me, i have no clue. during my fourth surgery i had a different surgeon who never ever uses the nitrate and doesn't see the purpose. believe me, there was no difference in my outcome; good or bad! i still ended up in another surgery yet and is far far tooooo early to tell the outcome of this one.

but it really must be effective in alot of people3 or else it wouldn't even exist. i was just telling my own personal experience with the stuff.
"I know in Australia silver nitrate has recently been discontinued, but it is one of the more common treatments in wounds with over-granulation, however there is no onne method more successful than the other."

Hi TheAxe11, I wonder why it is discontinued in Australia. Maybe it is not really useful as mentioned by someone else.
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