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July 1988

Cultured Skin Grafts: Past, Present, Future

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Dermatology, Boston University School of Medicine.

Arch Dermatol. 1988;124(7):1035-1038. doi:10.1001/archderm.1988.01670070023012

Replacement of missing skin has been a problem for physicians and surgeons throughout the ages. The use of autologous skin grafts has been the "gold standard" for wound closure, but in patients with wounds of large surface area, such as extensive burns, this strategy cannot be realized because of the lack of adequate donor sites for grafting. Because the ultimate outcome of many burn patients is determined by wound coverage, temporary coverage of wounds with materials other than the patient's own skin has been performed in these situations using fresh or cadaver skin allografts from related or unrelated donors. However, such allografts are rejected, usually after two weeks, and regrafting is necessary.1,2

DEVELOPMENT OF KERATINOCYTE CULTURE TECHNIQUES  As techniques for organ culture and tissue culture were developing in the 1970s, attempts were made to cover skin wounds with epidermal sheets derived from in vitro cultivation of skin.