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New skin-graft system may improve the treatment of chronic wounds

Photo credit: University of Missouri School of Medicine

A newly developed epidermal autograft harvesting system may aid in accelerating the healing of chronic wounds, according to researchers from the University of Missouri School of Medicine in Columbia, Mo.

The epidermal autograft harvesting system is less invasive compared to split-thickness grafting, which is currently the gold standard of care for treating traumatic and burn injury-related wounds, the investigators reported in The Cureus Journal of Medical Science (Nov. 2016; 8(11):e878).

“Although [split-thickness grafting] can be used to close a wound that refuses to heal, the surgical technique usually is painful, time-consuming and leaves significant donor site wounds,” said the lead author of the study, Dr. Jeffrey Litt, assistant professor of surgery at the University of Missouri.

This new skin-grafting system only harvests the top layer of skin for smaller, consistent sized donor grafts, unlike split-thickness skin grafting, which removes the top two layers of skin.

System resulted in accelerated healing, no wound recurrence

In the study, Dr. Litt and colleagues used the autograft harvesting system to care for 13 patients with various types of chronic wounds.

The findings revealed that the epidermal autograft harvesting system resulted in less donor site damage with little to no pain and was performed in an outpatient clinical setting. After treating the patients with the new skin-grafting technology, the clinical outcomes and costs were evaluated by the investigators.

“Eight of the 13 high-risk patients treated with the autograft system experienced much faster healing of their chronic wounds,” said Dr. Litt. “Four of these patients fully healed in less than one month.

Additionally, the comparatively rapid closure of the open wounds also reduced health care costs by an average of US$1,153 per patient and US$650 to the burn and wound program.”

In the report, Dr. Litt and his team noted that the accelerated healing did not result in wound recurrence.

“We have been using this minimally invasive autograft technology for more than a year, and it is well tolerated by our patients and easy to use by our team,” said Dr. Litt, who was quoted in a press release. “Given that, and the health care cost savings, we feel that this new approach to wound care is beneficial to everyone, and we will continue to evaluate outcomes.”

Photo credit: University of Missouri School of Medicine

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