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J Am Coll Surg. 2010 Sep;211(3):361-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jamcollsurg.2010.05.012. Epub 2010 Jul 14.

Prospective randomized trial of accelerated re-epithelization of skin graft donor sites using extracorporeal shock wave therapy.

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  • 1Unfallkrankenhaus Berlin, Zentrum für Schwerbrandverletzte mit Plastischer Chirurgie, Berlin, Germany.



Extracorporeal shock wave therapy may enhance revascularization and repair of healing soft tissue.


Between January 2006, and September 2007, 28 patients with acute traumatic wounds and burns requiring skin grafting were randomly assigned in a 1:1 fashion to receive standard topical therapy (nonadherent silicone mesh [Mepitel, Mölnlycke Health Care] and antiseptic gel [polyhexanide/octenidine]) to graft donor sites with (n = 13) or without (n = 15) defocused extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT, 100 impulses/cm(2) at 0.1 mJ/mm(2)) applied once to the donor site, immediately after skin harvest. The randomization sequence was computer generated, and the patients were blinded to treatment allocation. The primary endpoint was time to complete donor site epithelialization and was determined by an independent blinded observer.


Statistical tests indicated no unbalanced distribution of subject characteristics across the two study groups. Mean times to complete graft donor site epithelialization for patients who did and did not undergo ESWT were 13.9 +/- 2.0 days and 16.7 +/- 2.0 days, respectively (p = 0.0001).


For centers that apply nonadherent gauze dressings and topical antiseptics to skin graft donor sites, application of a single defocused shock wave treatment immediately after skin graft harvest can significantly accelerate donor site epithelialization.

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