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New skin-graft system a ‘better fix for chronic wounds’

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A recently developed skin-graft harvesting system aids in chronic wound recovery and reduces care costs by accelerating the healing process, a US study has indicated.

Researchers noted that split-thickness skin grafting currently is the gold standard for treating traumatic and burn injury-related skin loss.

“We feel that this new approach to wound care is beneficial to everyone”

Jeffrey Litt

The surgical procedure involves removing the top two layers of skin from a healthy donor site, and transplanting the tissue to an injured area.

However, split-thickness grafting must be performed in an operating room and the technique is limited by the availability of donor skin, they said. Additionally, donor sites usually are large, painful and also can become chronic wounds.

In the new study, the researchers used a recently developed autograft harvesting system to treat 13 patients with various types of chronic wounds.

The technology was used to harvest only the top layer of skin for much smaller, consistently sized donor grafts.

The minimally invasive approach, performed in an outpatient clinic, also resulted in much less donor site damage and little to no pain, said the study authors. Clinical outcomes were then evaluated.

Lead study author Jeffrey Litt, assistant professor of surgery at the University of Missouri School of Medicine, said: “Chronic wounds occur when healing fails to progress normally and persists for more than 30 days.

“Current treatments such as moist dressings, frequent irrigations and wound cleaning are not always enough to ensure that healing occurs in high-risk patients,” he said. “Although a skin graft 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.

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

The research team also noted that the accelerated healing also resulted in no wound recurrence – a complication associated with at-risk patient populations.

“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.

“We feel that this new approach to wound care is beneficial to everyone, and we will continue to evaluate outcomes,” he added.

The study findings were recently published in The Cureus Journal of Medical Science.

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