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Artificial skin for burn victims

Deep burns need treatment by early excision & skin grafting. However, if the area is big then enough skin graft may not be available immediately. In these situations, artificial skin like integra helps in initial healing & preventing complications.

Burns cause skin loss and post burn reconstruction needs quick replacement of the damaged skin so that the recovery can be hastened.

Experimentally so far, complete regeneration of adult skin has not been achieved, but partial regeneration can be done using a biologically active scaffold called the dermal regeneration template (DRT), these sponge-like scaffolds are usually made of animal collagen with a thin silicon sheet on top and are therefore biodegradable during the regenerative process.

The use of DRTs in the treatment of skin loss requires a two-step procedure. That is, after a wound is surgically excised and prepared, a DRT is grafted into the area of skin loss (first step). When Template is placed on a wound where burned or scarred skin has been removed, it provides the needed framework for the blood vessels and dermal skin cells to re-grow into a new dermal skin layer. 2-3 weeks the outer silicon layer comes off and a split-thickness (autologous) skin graft is gently placed over the new tissue to provide wound coverage (second step.)

The Integra is a system of two layers of skin regeneration. The exterior layer consists of a thin film of silicone which acts as the epidermis of the skin. It protects the wound against infection and regulates the loss of heat and moisture. The internal layer consists of a complicated bovine collagen matrix. This porous material functions as a layer to regenerate dermal skin cells, allowing a functional skin dermal layer to re-grow. After regeneration of the dermal skin, the exterior layer of silicone is removed and substituted by a thin epidermal skin graft. Integra was the first FDA-approved skin replacement and is approved for use in full-and partial-thickness burning wounds.

Dr Anup Dhir, senior cosmetic surgeon, Apollo hospital, Delhi says If the burn wound is permitted to cure without interference then the skin heals with contraction thus forming contractures that can lead to severe deformation and disability if overlying a joint or other essential region of the body in addition to being cosmetically highly demoralizing for the patient.

With excellent safety precautions and education, most of burns can be prevented. They often happen at home with females and kids involved. Cooking on stoves or fires in villages is a significant risk. Fire safety should be component of every home, government space or business, and kids should be taught how to stay secure from these hazards.

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