Successful Use of a Physiologically Acceptable Artificial Skin in the Treatment of Extensive Burn Injury

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Abstract

A bilayer artificial skin composed of a temporary Silastic epidermis and a porous collagcn-chondroitin 6-sulfate fibrillar dermis, which is not removed, has been used to physiologically close up to 60% of the body surface following prompt excision of burn wounds in ten patients whose total burn size covered 50–95% body surface area (BSA). Following grafting, the dermal portion is populated with fibroblasts and vessels from the wound bed. The anatomic structure of the artificial dermis resembles normal dermis and serves as a template for the synthesis of new connective tissue and the formation of a “neodermis,” while it is slowly biodegraded. This artificial skin has physiologically closed excised burn wounds for periods of time up to 46 days before the Silastic epidermis was removed. At the time of election when donor sites are ready for reharvesting, the Silastic epidermis is removed from the vascularized artificial dermis and replaced with 0.004 auto-epidermal graft in sheet or meshed form. Clinical and histologic experience in a relatively short follow-up period (2–16 months) indicates that “neodermis” retains some of the anatomic characteristics and behavior of normal dermis, thus promising improvement in the functional and cosmetic results, as well as providing physiologic function as a skin substitute. The artificial skin is easily sterilized and stored at room temperature, capable of large scale production, and immediately available for grafting, indicating its potential for easy and relatively economic use in the burn patient

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