What are the effects of electrochemical therapy, and how is skin changed?
In the 24 ex vivo porcine skin samples studied, tissue softening was observed at the anode and cathode electrode sites as a result of electrochemical modification. Volumetric changes were noted using each optical technique, and acoustic impedance properties additionally verified this observation.
Electrochemical therapy appears to be a paradigm-shifting, easily deployable technique that can have a large effect on scar treatments and other cosmetic applications.
The classic management of burn scars and other injuries to the skin has largely relied on soft-tissue transfer to resurface damaged tissue with local tissue transfer or skin graft placement. In situ generation of electrochemical reactions using needle electrodes and an application of current may be a new approach to treat scars and skin.
To examine the changes in optical, mechanical, and acoustic impedance properties in porcine skin after electrochemical therapy.
Design, Setting, and Participants
This preclinical pilot study, performed from August 1, 2015, to November 1, 2016, investigated the effects of localized pH-driven electrochemical therapy of ex vivo porcine skin using 24 skin samples. Platinum-plated needle electrodes were inserted into fresh porcine skin samples. A DC power supply provided a voltage of 4 to 5 V with a 3-minute application time. Specimens were analyzed using optical coherence tomography, optical coherence elastography, and ultrasonography. Ultrasonography was performed under 3 conditions (n = 2 per condition), optical coherence tomography was performed under 2 conditions (n = 2 per condition), and optical coherence elastography was performed under 2 conditions (n = 2 per condition). The remaining samples were used for the positive and negative control groups (n = 10).
Platinum-plated needle electrodes were inserted into fresh porcine skin samples. A DC power supply provided a voltage of 4 to 5 V with a 3-minute application.
Main Outcomes and Measures
Tissue softening was observed at the anode and cathode sites as a result of electrochemical modification. Volumetric changes were noted using each optical and acoustic technique.
A total of 24 ex vivo porcine skin samples were used for this pilot study. Optical coherence tomography measured spatial distribution of superficial tissue changes around each electrode site. At 4 V for 3 minutes, a total volumetric effect of 0.47 mm3 was found at the anode site and 0.51 mm3 at the cathode site. For 5 V for 3 minutes, a total volumetric effect of 0.85 mm3 was found at the anode site and 1.05 mm3 at the cathode site.
Conclusions and Relevance
Electrochemical therapy is a low-cost technique that is on par with the costs of suture and scalpel. The use of electrochemical therapy to create mechanical and physiologic changes in tissue has the potential to locally remodel the soft-tissue matrix, which ultimately may lead to an inexpensive scar treatment or skin rejuvenation therapy.
Level of Evidence
Moy WJ, Su E, Chen JJ, Oh C, Jing JC, Qu Y, He Y, Chen Z, Wong BJ. Association of Electrochemical Therapy With Optical, Mechanical, and Acoustic Impedance Properties of Porcine Skin. JAMA Facial Plast Surg. Published online June 22, 2017. doi:10.1001/jamafacial.2017.0341