Early excision and grafting cannot always be performed due to patient's medical status, and the lack of adequate donor sites. The use of cerium nitrate-silver sulphadiazine cream, which causes the formation of a leather-like eschar with excellent resistance to infection, is an alternative method. In order to postpone operations by using cerium nitrate-silver sulphadiazine, we compared the differences in contamination of the grafted areas between early and delayed excision. Eighteen patients underwent excision and grafting within 5 days post burn and nineteen patients were surgically treated after 5 days. Twelve months later the grafted areas were evaluated. Contamination of the grafted area occurred in 17 patients. No differences in contamination occurred between the early and delayed excision group, 8 versus 9. Also no differences in type of organism cultured and follow-up results were found between the early and delayed excision group. Cerium nitrate-silver sulphadiazine allows surgical treatment to be delayed without an increase of contamination of the grafted area and does not adversely affect the long-term outcome.