Traditionally, physicians have used the skin graft process for replacing
skin for victims of severe burn injuries, which involves taking uninjured
skin from other parts of the body or growing skin artificially and grafting
it over the burned areas of the body. The skin graft process, however,
can take weeks or months to heal, renders the victim prone to infection
and results in new skin that is quite fragile.
Development of the Skin-Cell-Gun
Professor Joerg C. Gerlach and his colleagues at the Department of Surgery
of the University of Pittsburgh’s McGowan Institute for Regenerative
Medicine have been working since 2008 to develop an alternative to the
skin graft process. Scientists now have been testing the Skin-Cell Gun,
which sprays skin cells biopsied from the victim’s undamaged skin
directly onto the burned area in order to help it regenerate skin more
quickly. Use of the Skin-Cell-Gun dramatically reduces recovery time for
victims of severe burn injuries to days, rather than weeks or months.
To date, physicians have tested the Skin-Cell-Gun on about a dozen victims
of severe burns.
Using the Skin-Cell-Gun to repair the skin of the burn victim takes only
about one and one-half hours total, which replaces the many hours that
the skin graft process can entail over a period of weeks or even months.
After spraying the burned areas of the skin, the physicians will cover
the treated area with a special dressing containing tubes that act as
a vein and an artery. The physicians then connect tubes to an artificial
vascular system that feeds the burned areas with substances such as electrolytes,
amino acids, glucose and antibiotics, which function together to give
the skin nutrition, keep the wound sterile and encourage regeneration
of skin cells. Currently, physicians only are using the Skin-Cell-Gun
to treat second-degree burn injuries, but they hope to use the same treatment
on burn victims with third-degree burns in the future.
Victims of severe burns may have legal claims for their injuries that they
or their family members can pursue. If you have suffered a burn injury
due to an accident, you should contact a Sarasota accident lawyer to advise
you of your legal rights. Contact your Sarasota injury attorney today
for a consultation about your injury case.