BACKGROUND: Transplantation of skin micrografts (MGs), split-thickness skin grafts (STSGs), or cultured autologous keratinocytes (CKs) enhances the healing of large full-thickness wounds. This study compares these methods in a porcine wound model, investigating the utility of micrograft transplantation in skin restoration.
STUDY DESIGN: Full-thickness wounds were created on Yorkshire pigs and assigned to one of the following treatment groups: MGs, STSGs, CKs, wet nontransplanted, or dry nontransplanted. Dry wounds were covered with gauze and the other groups' wounds were enclosed in a polyurethane chamber containing saline. Biopsies were collected 6, 12, and 18 days after wounding. Quantitative and qualitative wound healing parameters including macroscopic scar appearance, wound contraction, neoepidermal maturation, rete ridge formation, granulation tissue thickness and width, and scar tissue formation were studied.
RESULTS: Transplanted wounds scored lower on the Vancouver Scar Scale compared with nontransplanted wounds, indicating a better healing outcome. All transplanted wounds exhibited significantly lower contraction compared with nontransplanted wounds. Wounds transplanted with either MGs, STSGs, or CKs showed a significant increase in re-epithelialization compared with nontransplanted wounds. Wounds transplanted with MGs or STSGs exhibited improved epidermal healing compared with nongrafted wounds. Furthermore, transplantation with STSGs or MGs led to less scar tissue formation compared with the nontransplanted wounds. No significant impact on scar formation was observed after transplantation of CKs.
CONCLUSIONS: Qualitative and quantitative measurements collected from full-thickness porcine wounds show that transplantation of MGs improve wound healing parameters and is comparable to treatment with STSGs.
2011. Vol. 213, no 6, 728-735 p.