Skin grafts as pharmacological agents: Pre-wounding of the donor site

R. S. Kirsner, V. Falanga, F. A. Kerdel, M. H. Katz, W. H. Eaglstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Initially thought to act as tissue replacement, cultured epithelial allografts are now known to work by providing a potent stimulus for healing. In a similar fashion, we believe that traditional autografts may also provide a stimulus to help heal chronic wounds, thus acting as pharmacological agents for healing. We attempted to assess the possibility of augmenting the stimulatory properties of donor skin by initiating the healing process in the donor region prior to grafting. This was accomplished by pre-wounding the donor area 3 days prior to harvesting the donor skin. We compared these 'pre-wounded' grafts to those harvested immediately. Two patients underwent punch grafting for chronic leg ulceration. Half of the ulcer was grafted with donor skin harvested from an area that was pre-wounded and the other half from freshly harvested skin. We evaluated each for improvement of granulation tissue and degree of edge effect (migration of the previously dormant wound edges). All the grafts did well. There was marked improvement-in granulation tissue in the ulcer bed after grafting, and the obvious presence of an edge effect. The edge effect was increased on the site where the pre-wounded grafts were placed. It may be possible to augment the growth-stimulatory properties of donor skin. This may offer therapeutic options in patients with chronic wounds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)292-296
Number of pages5
JournalBritish Journal of Dermatology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


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