Artificial Skin Transplant
A UAE national boy with severe burns has gone through a unique artificial skin transplant at Al Mafraq Hospital in Abu Dhabi recently. About 500 sq. cm of artificial skin was stitched in the boy's arm .The skin was covered with silicon to protect it from infection. This artificial skin transplant procedure allows natural skin to grow on the artificial one and avoids scars.
Why is artificial skin transplant needed?
Artificial skin transplant is particularly needed in severely burnt cases such as: third degree burns where patients lose more than 50 percent of their skin layers, very large wounds and venous ulceration cases. In these situations, it is not possible for the skin to heal itself as a normal biological process because of the relatively slow nature of epithelial migration. Hence, the use of artificial skin transplant becomes mandatory.
Though using patient's own skin for coverage is very costly, yet highly effective in properly prepared wounds, it has drawbacks of hospitalization, immobilization, anesthesia and pain. Also some areas in the body are not amenable to grafting.
The best solution given by modern science of biotechnology as an effective alternative to auto grafting (using patient's skin or donors skin) is the artificial skin transplant.
What is an artificial skin?
Artificial skin is a porous polymer film which is placed over an area of damaged skin (e.g. burnt skin) and host new skin. The edges of these polymers meet with healthy skin.
Japanese researchers have now combined 2 existing scaffold technologies that include: Natural polymer collagen and synthetic polymer mesh.
Yet each one of these two techniques in its unique way has some disadvantages. Such as collagen not being strong enough to support new cells, whereas cells do not grow easily on synthetic mesh. To pool the benefits, these two materials are now combined to form hybrids that will be used in the artificial skin.
There are two...