Background: Split-thickness skin grafting is the current gold standard for treatment of major traumatic skin loss. However, split-thickness skin grafting is limited by donor-skin availability, especially in large burns. In addition, the donor-site wound is associated with pain and scarring. Multiple techniques have been developed in the past to overcome these limitations but have been unable to achieve clinical relevance. In this study, the authors examine the novel emerging skin grafting techniques, aiming to improve the utility of split-thickness skin grafting.
Methods: An extensive literature review was conducted on PubMed, MEDLINE, and Google Scholar to look for new skin grafting techniques. Special focus was given to techniques with potential for large expansion ratio and decreased donor-site pain.
Results: The new modalities of modified skin grafting technique, discussed in this article, include (1) Xpansion Micrografting System, (2) fractional skin harvesting, (3) epidermal suction blister grafting, and (4) ReCell technology. These techniques are able to achieve significantly increased expansion ratios compared with conventional split-thickness skin grafting and also have decreased donor-site morbidity.
Conclusions: These techniques can be used separately or in conjunction with split-thickness skin grafting to overcome the associated pitfalls. Further studies and clinical trials are needed to define the utility of these procedures and where they fit into routine clinical practice.