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Am J Emerg Med. 2009 Mar;27(3):285-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ajem.2008.02.019.

Validation of a porcine comb burn model.

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Department of Emergency Medicine, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY 11794-8350, USA.



A brass comb burn model that creates 3 full-thickness burns separated by 3 interspaces of unburned skin representing the zone of ischemia has been described in rats. We evaluated this model in pigs.


Design--observational. Subjects--6 pigs (20-25 kg). Interventions--4 burns created on each animal on the dorsum using a brass comb with 4 rectangular prongs preheated in boiling water and applied for 30 seconds resulting in 4 rectangular 10 x 20-mm full-thickness burns separated by three 5 x 20-mm unburned interspaces. Outcomes--wounds observed at 1, 2, 3, and 7 days for evidence of necrosis in unburned interspaces. Full-thickness biopsies from interspaces were evaluated with hematoxylin-eosin staining 7 days after injury for evidence of necrosis. Data analysis--the percentages of interspaces progressing to necrosis were analyzed with descriptive statistics.


Twenty-four comb burns with 72 unburned interspaces were created evenly distributed between the animals. The percentages of interspaces that progressed to full-thickness necrosis at 1, 2, 3, and 7 days after injury were 88.9% (64/72; 95% confidence interval [CI], 79.6%-94.3%), 88.9% (64/72; 95% CI, 79.6%-94.3%), 88.9% (64/72; 95% CI, 79.6%-94.3%), and 97.7% (70/72; 95% CI, 90.4%-99.2%), respectively. There was perfect agreement between gross inspection and histomorphology.


The comb burn model in swine results in the progression of most unburned ischemic interspaces to full-thickness necrosis within 1 to 7 days.

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