Epidermal-cell-based therapy as an adjunct to healing second degree burns-A randomized controlled pilot study.

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BACKGROUND: Healing of partial-thickness (2a and 2b) burns is notoriously unpredictable as far as healing time, scarring and (hypo)pigmentation is concerned. Epidermal blister grafting is an autologous grafting technique involving transfer of epidermal islands without dermal elements. Cellutome™ is an FDA-acknowledged epidermal harvesting device. This proof-of-concept study evaluates whether blister grafting of partial-thickness burns results in improved healing compared to standard acellular treatment.

METHODS: This is a randomized controlled trial with 8 patients in which each patient received both treatments randomized to different burn sites. Healing was assessed at regular intervals. Twelve months after treatment, outcomes were measured with the Vancouver Scar Scale (VSS), Patient and Observer Scar Assessment Scale (POSAS), photography, spectrometry, Semmes-Weinstein Filaments, cutometry and high-resolution ultrasound.

RESULTS: Areas treated with epidermal blister grafting healed slightly faster than acellular treatment. Epidermal treatment yielded healing with less erythema, closer to that of surrounding normal skin (p = 0.0404). Donor sites were not visible and not measurably different than normal skin.

CONCLUSIONS: Results favor cellular over acellular technique for the treatment of partial-thickness (2a and 2b) burns. Significant improvement in erythema implies a higher quality healing process. Further studies should look primarily at larger areas of treatment, and larger sample size.




Medicine and Health Sciences




Department of Surgery, Network Office of Research and Innovation, USF-LVHN SELECT Program, USF-LVHN SELECT Program Students, USF-LVHN SELECT Program Faculty

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