A new study has cast further doubt on whether a controversial treatment to prevent surgical site infections is effective for elderly patients. 

Studies have shown silver ion treatment to be an effective antibacterial agent. Some researchers suggest silver dressing may be used to prevent infections and improve wound healing rates, while others shun them for potential increased treatment costs.

A trial conducted at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center studied 55 older adult patients with hip fractures who had undergone surgery. The group was randomly split into two cohorts: one that received standard wound dressings and one that was treated with silver dressings. 

Results of the study showed that two patients in each group showed signs of infection after a five-to-seven-day period, suggesting that silver dressings aren’t necessarily more effective than regular dressings.

The researchers found the use of silver dressings added approximately $5 in treatment costs per patient, reinforcing previous research that suggests the dressings increase costs without any major differences in outcomes.

The full study was published in the Journal of Wound Care