Second Skins Essay

This essay has a total of 690 words and 4 pages.

Second Skins

Second Skins

Strange, Carolyn J. 1997. Second Skins: “FDA Consumer”. Jan./ Feb. edition: 12-17.

Many years ago if a person were to encounter a severe burn they did not live because of
dehydration and serious infections. New advances in medical technology mike it possible
burn patients to live and have newly restored skin too.

The best way to treat a severe burn is for it to be cleaned and covered in a critical
amount of time. Many types of coverings can be used to get the job done. Currently,
surgeons agree that the patients own skin is the best form of covering the burn wound. By
taking skin from another body part, the burn wound can be covered with the transplanted
skin. This process is called auto grafting. Auto grafting can’t be done for those
patients who have burns covering the majority of their bodies. So, there has to be another
way for covering their burns. An additional possibility is called an all graft, the
process when the burn is covered with cadaver skin. Cadaver skin is sometimes in short
supply so animal skin might be used in place of it. The use of animal skin or Xenografting
is sometimes avoided because the patient’s immune system could reject the skin and
have to be removed.

Two major types of dressing that are used for covering third degree burns and are FDA
approved and recognized, Biobrane and Integra. Both of these dressings are laid and kept
in place until autographing can be possible. Growing a patients skin in a lab, which is
called cultured skin, is a process that helps eliminate the donor site and scarring from
auto grafting. Taking a skin sample about the size of a quarter can be grown into enough
skin to nearly cover all the body in about 2 to 3 weeks. The only problem with this
method is that something has to cover the wounds in the meantime. This is when the Integra
and Biobrane take effect. The wound could be covered with Integra or Biobrane acting as
the epidermal layer of the skin until the new grown skin is ready for grafting.

There was also talk about the new uses for cultured skin. Using cultured skin for ulcers
and in vitro experiments are a couple of new uses for the product. Ulcers are accompanied
by the issue of dead skin and the cultured skin can be used to help grow back some of the
skin. This is also a very interesting subject when it comes to laboratory testing. One day
in vitro experiments can replace the use of animal testing in labs. An in vitro test kit
has been approved for companies to use cultured skin, which helps cut down on the use of
animal testing.
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