INTRODUCTION: This study is a retrospective analysis of 168 adult burns patients who received definitive treatment for partial thickness burns with Biobrane at a specialist burns centre. Our aim was to establish whether Biobrane served as a reliable, definitive treatment option or whether further treatment and allocation of surgical and nursing resources was required after application. METHODS: We conducted a retrospective two year chart review (January 1 2007 and December 31 2008) of patients admitted to the Victorian Adult Burns Service, in Melbourne, Australia. RESULTS: Use of Biobrane was associated with the need for further treatment interventions in a total of 74 patients (44%). Of these, Biobrane failure was found to be associated with infection in 28 cases (37.8%) and 48 (65%) patients underwent further surgery. A total of 87 patients (52%) had burns that took greater than three weeks from the time of injury to full re-epithelisation. Factors found to be associated with Biobrane failure were female gender, increasing percentage surface area of Biobrane application and when Biobrane was used in conjunction with split skin grafting to another area. CONCLUSION: The application of Biobrane to burns of mid-dermal or 'indeterminate' depth in our institution has resulted in high rates of return to theatre, positive wound cultures and delayed healing, and the recognition of the need to re-conceptualise the principles of use of this product. The use of Biobrane in smaller mid dermal or mixed depth burns may lead to increased operations and use of other hospital resources, without clear evidence of improved outcomes.