Autologous skin-grafting is the gold standard for treatment of deep second and third degree burns. Available bioengineered skin products also necessitate this two-step surgical procedure. Therefore, we developed fetal skin constructs to improve healing of such degree burns. A bank of fetal skin cells was developed from one organ donation (4 cm2 of skin allowing the preparation of several million three-dimensional skin constructs, 9x12 cm, on native horse collagen). Successive fetal constructs were applied to eight patients at every change of dressing during 1-3 weeks in an outpatient setting. Complete closure was rapid (mean 15.3 days [SD 5.5]) with little hypertrophy of new skin and no retraction seen. This simple technique provided complete treatment without auto-grafting, showing that fetal skin cells might have great potential to treat burns and eventually acute and chronic wounds of other types.
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