Reconstructive surgery with a dermal regeneration template: clinical and histologic study

N S Moiemen, J J Staiano, N O Ojeh, Y Thway, J D Frame
Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery 2001, 108 (1): 93-103
Integra artificial skin was introduced in 1981 and its use in acute surgical management of burns is well established, but Integra has also been used in patients undergoing reconstructive surgery. Over a period of 25 months, the authors used Integra to cover 30 anatomic sites in 20 consecutive patients requiring reconstructive surgery and then analyzed the clinical and histologic outcomes. The most common reason for surgery was release of contracture followed by resurfacing of tight or painful scars. The authors assessed patients' satisfaction using a visual analog scale and scar appearance using a modified Vancouver Burn Index Scale. They evaluated the progress of wound healing by examining weekly punch-biopsy specimens with standard and immunohistochemical stains. Patients reported a 72 percent increase in range of movement, a 62 percent improvement in softness, and a 59 percent improvement in appearance compared with their preoperative states. Pruritus and dryness were the main complaints, and neither was improved much. Four distinct phases of dermal regeneration could be demonstrated histologically: imbibition, fibroblast migration, neovascularization, and remodeling and maturation. Full vascularization of the neodermis occurred at 4 weeks. The color of the wound reflected the state of neodermal vascularization. No adnexa, nerve endings, or elastic fibers were seen in any of the specimens. The new collagen was histologically indistinguishable from normal dermal collagen. The authors conclude that Integra is a useful tool in reconstructive surgery. The additional cost of its use can be justified by its distinct benefits compared with current methodology.

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