Healing of Chronic Wounds: An Update of Recent Developments and Future Possibilities

Tissue Eng Part B Rev. 2019 Oct;25(5):429-444. doi: 10.1089/ten.TEB.2019.0019. Epub 2019 Sep 11.


Chronic wounds are the result of disruptions in the body's usual process of healing. They are not only a source of significant pain and discomfort but also, more importantly, an unguarded port of entry for pathogens into the body. While our current understanding of this phenomenon is far from complete, findings in physiological patterns and advancements in wound healing technologies have helped develop wound management and healing solutions to this long-standing medical challenge. This review presents an overview of known wound healing mechanics, abnormalities that lead to chronic wounds, and a summary of established and new wound healing technologies. Various approaches to heal wounds are discussed, from dermal replacements to advanced biomaterial-based treatments, from cell-, synthetic-, and composite-based approaches to preclinical approaches, which make developing such products possible. While tested breakthrough products are described, the authors focused more on recently developed innovations, which are at varying stages of maturity. The review concludes with a note on future perspectives and opinions on where the field and industry are headed and where they should be. Impact Statement Wound healing is an important area of research and clinical practice, and has captured the attention of tissue engineers since the nascent beginnings of the discipline. Tissue-engineered skin was the first FDA-approved product, achieved in 1996. Despite this success, and the passage of time, healing wounds, particularly chronic wounds, remains a vexing challenge. This comprehensive review article will provide readers with a synopsis of current issues, research approaches, animal models, technologies, and products that span the continuum from early development to clinical studies, in the hope of fueling new interests and ideas to overcome this long-standing medical challenge.

Keywords: biologics; biomaterials; chronic wounds; dressings; scaffolds; skin bioprinting.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biocompatible Materials / chemistry*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Humans
  • Skin / cytology*
  • Skin / injuries
  • Tissue Engineering / methods*
  • Wound Healing*
  • Wounds and Injuries / therapy*


  • Biocompatible Materials