Published on Friday, January 29, 2010
Surgeons from the University of Arizona Department of Surgery Southern Arizona Limb Salvage Alliance performed the procedure on a diabetic foot wound.
Micrografting skin is not a new technique, but the procedure performed by David G. Armstrong, DPM, PhD, UA professor of surgery and Alliance director, and his vascular surgery team was the first ever using a technique made possible with a new device developed by Dr. Elof Eriksson, of Harvard University.
“People in the past have had to mince up skin in a very inelegant fashion that took a lot of time and led to invariably unpredictable results,” Armstrong said. “This new ‘self-contained’ procedure should allow us to do these procedures in minor-procedure rooms and in outpatient clinics, as well as in the operating room. That is a significant step forward.”
The procedure involves taking a small skin specimen from the patient. Then, using a special device, the skin is finely minced and spread on the wound, covering the surface many times wider than the skin sample itself.
“In many cases, we can take a postage stamp-sized piece of skin and expand it to 10 or more times its previous area,” he said. “We’re excited to see what the potential of this new procedure brings our highest-risk patients.