A newly developed, carboxymethylcellulose based hydrofibre dressing, Aquacel, was tested for the treatment of partial thickness burns. In this study 84 patients with mainly partial thickness burns were included, 76 patients received 1 or 2 days pre-treatment with a topical antimicrobial agent. Clinical behaviour showed a strong resemblance with cadaver skin treatment with respect to adherence to the wound. Adverse reactions, incidence of clinical wound infection, healing time and the need for wound excision and grafting were analysed, as was the final outcome using the 'Vancouver Scar Scale'. The mean size of the wounds treated with the hydrofibre dressing was 6.0% body surface area (min: 1%, max: 18%). Two patients clinically showed signs of a wound infection during treatment, but in general wound cultures were low or negative. In 42 patients (50%) the wounds healed completely within 10 days, in six patients (7%) small defects remained that healed by further treatment with a topical antimicrobial cream. In 36 patients (43%) excision and grafting of the remaining deeper parts of the wounds was performed as this is the standard therapy in the centre for all burned areas that have not healed within 2-3 weeks post-injury. The extent of the surgical procedures was limited since 66.1% of the wound area had healed already at the end of the hydrofibre treatment. In 54 patients the outcome of the treatment after 2-3 months was analysed by means of the Vancouver Scar Scale, which showed favourable results in general, and especially for patients who did not require surgery. Compared to earlier experience with allograft skin it was concluded that hydrofibre dressing is a safe, suitable and easy to use material for treatment of partial thickness burns.