Human epidermis serves as a protective covering against loss of endogenous fluids and exogenous microbial invasion. Cultured epithelial autograft suspensions have been used to enhance epithelialization to improve mortality, morbidity, and the overall quality of the scar. The measurement of surface electrical capacitance as an indicator of transepidermal water loss has been used in neonatology and dermatology to determine epidermal maturation. This tool has been used in a double-blind, randomized, controlled trial to compare the effects of cultured epithelial autograft in suspension on epidermal healing and maturation compared with a control in an in vivo partial thickness wound model.Methods:
In this double-blind, randomized, controlled trial (n = 8), the authors assessed the effect of cultured epithelial autograft on epidermal healing and maturation in standardized partial thickness wounds. Surface electrical capacitance was compared on 16 split-thickness skin graft donor sites treated with cultured epithelial autograft (n = 8) against controls treated with Dulbecco’s Modified Eagle’s Medium (n = 8) using a NOVA Dermaphase Meter at 4, 5, 6, and 7 days postoperatively.Results:
A statistically significant difference on continuous readings at days 5 (p = 0.012) and 7 (p = 0.036) and instantaneously on days 5 (p = 0.025) and 6 (p = 0.036) in surface electrical capacitance was observed in the cultured epithelial autograft over the Dulbecco’s Modified Eagle’s Medium–treated wounds.Conclusions:
Measuring surface electrical capacitance provides an objective and repeatable method of assessing epidermal maturation. This study indicates that the rate of epithelialization and epidermal maturation is more rapid in partial thickness epidermal skin wounds treated with cultured epithelial autograft.