Biological skin substitutes for wound cover and closure

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In the past 30 years, the development and use of artificial skin in the treatment of acute and chronic wounds has advanced from an experimental concept to a working reality. However, while there have been an increasing number of artificial skin substitutes licensed for clinical use, they have yet to supplant the current gold standard of an autologous tissue graft for most applications. This article reviews the advantages and disadvantages of the currently available, biologically based substitutes, with special emphasis on their relative efficacy and suitability for treatment of particular wound types. Economic considerations, desirable improvements of currently available materials and the potential impact of future advances in the field will also be discussed.

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