Second Skins

Second Skins

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Second Skins

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.

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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.

I believe that it is a great accomplishment that scientist and surgeon have several different ways to replace and treat burn patients with artificial skin and skin grafting. I am in favor of this process because I think it is important to have and maintain healthy skin. The skin is your first line of defense and without that physical barrier intact a person could be prone to infections and disease. . Before studying this topic I did not realize how important your skin is to your well being. Just a simple sunburn can cause more damage that you think it could. It is most of all important to protect yourself from burns, it was mentioned through out this article that the answere to the burn problem is prevention. I sincerely agree with that statement because most accidents that cause burns can be prevented. Someone's carelessness can end in third degree burns and be very fatal. The author did a great job of covering all possibilities of treating burns and I believe that the information provided is a reliable source. Possible new research involves the use of cultured skin in labs for testing cosmetics and pharmaceutical products, which was briefly mentioned in the article.


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