Background: Our purpose was to directly compare results obtained with the ReCell system and the classic skin grafting for epidermal replacement in deep partial thickness burns.
Materials and methods: We recruited all patients with deep partial thickness burns admitted at the Burn Centre of S. Eugenio Hospital in Rome over 2 years. Enrollment was conducted with a controlled strategy--sampling chart--that allowed homogeneous groups (ReCell and skin grafting) for age, gender, type of burns and total burn surface area (TBSA). We evaluated as primary endpoints of the study the (i) time for complete epithelization (both treated area and biopsy site) and (ii) aesthetic and functional quality of the epithelization (color, joint contractures). Secondary endpoints were the assessment of infections, inflammations or any adverse effects of the ReCell procedure, particular medications assumed, postoperative pain.
Results: Eighty-two patients were analyzed in two homogeneous groups. All of them received adequate epidermal replacement, but skin grafting was faster than ReCell (p<0.05). On the contrary, ReCell biopsy areas and postoperative pain were smaller than classic grafting (p<0.05). The aesthetic and functional outcomes were similar between procedures.
Conclusions: ReCell is a feasible, simple and safe technique. It gives similar results to skin grafting but, harvesting minor areas, can open possible future applications in the management of large-burns patients.