BACKGROUND: Major loss of skin following burns or trauma requires skin grafting for repair. In addition, chronic wounds frequently require skin grafts. Current treatments are either cumbersome, limited in possible expansion ratio, costly, or require extensive time for treatment. This study investigates a new way of regenerating skin after major burns and other trauma, providing 100-fold expansion of a split-thickness skin graft. METHODS: Submillimeter micrografts were created by controlled mincing of a split-thickness skin graft and transplanted to porcine full-thickness wounds. By creating an incubator-like microenvironment using wound chambers, the micrografts provide reepithelialization whether placed dermal side up or dermal side down. RESULTS: Transplantation of micrografts in a 1:100 expansion ratio results in complete epithelialization of both healthy and diabetic wounds within 14 days. In comparison, nontransplanted wounds showed 62 percent reepithelialization in healthy pigs and 49 percent in diabetic pigs at the corresponding time point. CONCLUSIONS: Minced skin micrografts are very effective in wound repair and can provide 100-fold expansion of a skin graft. Early clinical results confirm the utility of this technique.
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