Silver nitrate is a broad-spectrum antimicrobial agent commonly used in a wound dressing to prepare a wound for healing. In the correct concentration, silver controls mold, yeast, and bacteria. Silver kills microbes by inhibiting cellular respiration, altering cell membrane permeability and denaturing nucleic acids, states a study published on PubMed.
When the bacterial burden in a wound is properly treated, only then is a normal wound healing process initiated. Silver nitrate can kill microbes like methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, a bacterial strain that is highly resistant to antibiotics, explains Mayo Clinic. Silver nitrate is the gold standard in the type of silver used for wound care, and it has been successfully used for more than four decades. When used in the correct concentrations, silver does not promote bacterial resistance. Silver nitrate also possesses potent anti-inflammatory properties and has a low toxicity level in mammalian cells.
Silver nitrate has been used in the treatment of acute wounds, burns and chronic wounds, such as leg ulcers. Application of silver nitrate has been proven to dramatically reduce the size of large wounds and has prevented some patients from requiring surgery, states a study published on PubMed. Other effective forms of silver used for wound care include silver sulfadiazine and nanocrystalline silver.