Heal wounds with spray-on skin

Doctors spray donated skin cells onto troublesome sores.

If you're weak of stomach, this may not be the article for you. We're going to talk about leg ulcers - sores that happen when high blood pressure in your leg veins causes your skin to break down into an open wound.

Doctors typically treat leg ulcers with compression bandages. But those only heal about 70% of ulcers, after six months of treatment, says BBC News. They can also graft skin from another part of your body over the sore, but that procedure causes another wound in the area of the removed skin and the grafts take a while to prepare.

A group of American doctors figured there had to be a better treatment option for leg ulcer sufferers. They developed a spray of engineered tissue. The spray coats wounds with a combination of newborn skin cells and fibroblasts, connective tissue cells that coordinate healing.

They reported in the journal The Lancet this week that leg ulcers began rapidly decreasing in size following application of the spray. Patients showed the most healing when they received the spray every 14 days, and 70% of their wounds healed after three months.

The researchers say further study is needed to determine the practicality of the treatment, but at this point they argue that the initial high cost of the spray is outweighed by the money saved through faster healing.

[via BBC News]

Photos: Andrew Magill/Flickr and veinsveinsveins.com

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com


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