Author(s): Horch RE, Kopp J, Kneser U, Beier J, Bach AD
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Abstract Skin replacement has been a challenging task for surgeons ever since the introduction of skin grafts by Reverdin in 1871. Recently, skin grafting has evolved from the initial autograft and allograft preparations to biosynthetic and tissue-engineered living skin replacements. This has been fostered by the dramatically improved survival rates of major burns where the availability of autologous normal skin for grafting has become one of the limiting factors. The ideal properties of a temporary and a permanent skin substitute have been well defined. Tissue-engineered skin replacements: cultured autologous keratinocyte grafts, cultured allogeneic keratinocyte grafts, autologous/allogeneic composites, acellular biological matrices, and cellular matrices including such biological substances as fibrin sealant and various types of collagen, hyaluronic acid etc. have opened new horizons to deal with such massive skin loss. In extensive burns it has been shown that skin substitution with cultured grafts can be a life-saving measure where few alternatives exist. Future research will aim to create skin substitutes with cultured epidermis that under appropriate circumstances may provide a wound cover that could be just as durable and esthetically acceptable as conventional split-thickness skin grafts. Genetic manipulation may in addition enhance the performance of such cultured skin substitutes. If cell science, molecular biology, genetic engineering, material science and clinical expertise join their efforts to develop optimized cell culture techniques and synthetic or biological matrices then further technical advances might well lead to the production of almost skin like new tissue-engineered human skin products resembling natural human skin.
This article was published in J Cell Mol Med
and referenced in Journal of Tissue Science & Engineering