Cultured epidermal autograft and the treatment of the massive burn injury

The Journal of Burn Care & Rehabilitation
L R HaithW T Goldman


As a rule, adult and pediatric patients with thermal injuries that involve more than 90% total body surface area (TBSA) burn have poor prognoses. Even for patients who are 5 to 34 years old with a 70% TBSA burn, the mortality rate is 80%. Lack of autologous donor skin, which is essential for permanent wound closure, is the major problem. Recent advances in growth of cultured epidermal autograft (CEA) have allowed closure of full- and partial-thickness burns; in approximately 3 weeks, a 2 cm2 biopsy specimen will produce enough CEA to cover a pediatric patient. Since 1989, we have used this product on nine patients; the average age was 39, and the average TBSA burn was 70% (range, 44% to 93%). We report our approach to use of CEA in six of these patients, including topical applications of 1% silver sulfadiazine and excision of full- and deep partial-thickness wounds within 2 weeks of injury. Temporary closure was achieved with cadaver allograft. "Take" of the allograft forecasted take of CEA. The total operative time of CEA placement was decreased by a two-step technique that obviates repeating debridement: the technique consists of debriding and grafting with allograft, then removing it at the time of CEA placement. CEA take is...Continue Reading


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