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Burns. 1996 Feb;22(1):22-5.

Successful 14-day preservation of rat skin using a two-layer cold-storage method.

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  • 1First Department of Surgery, Kobe University School of Medicine, Japan.


Skin-graft preservation for the purpose of delayed autografting to burn patients is a basic tool of plastic and burn surgery. This study was undertaken to evaluate the efficacy of the two-layer (physiological saline/perfluorochemical (PFC)) cold-storage method for skin preservation. In Wistar rats, a full-thickness skin graft, 3 cm in diameter, was harvested from the back, and separated from the dermis to obtain the epidermal sheet. This epidermal sheet was preserved at 4 degrees C using physiological saline (group 1, n = 15), physiological saline bubbled with a 95 per cent oxygen, 5 per cent carbon dioxide mixture (group 2, n = 15) or a two-layer method with bubbling with 95 per cent oxygen and 5 per cent carbon dioxide mixture (group 3, n = 15). The epidermal skin sheets were then autotransplanted to the backs of the original donor rats 7, 10 and 14 days after the start of preservation. The success rate of the skin autotransplantation was determined by measuring the ratio of viable area to total graft area 7 days after grafting. In group I, the success rates after 7, 10 and 14 days' perservation were 56.4, 47.4 and 0.09 per cent, respectively. In group 2, the corresponding success rates were 62.0, 48.4 and 0.8 per cent respectively, showing no improvement with oxygenated saline. In clear contrast, the success rates were significantly improved by the two-layer method, the values being 92.1, 87.9 and 77.6 per cent after 7, 10 and 14 days of perservation, respectively (P < 0.01 vs. groups 1 and 2 for all preservation durations). Based on these results, we concluded that the two-layer method is useful for not only improving the quality of the skin graft but also extending the preservation time of the skin graft up to 14 days.

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