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Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery


BACKGROUND Traumatic insults, infection, and surgical procedures can leave skin defects that are not amenable to primary closure. Split-thickness skin grafting (STSG) is frequently used to achieve closure of these wounds. Although effective, STSG can be associated with donor site morbidity, compounding the burden of illness in patients undergoing soft tissue reconstruction procedures. With an expansion ratio of 1:80, autologous skin cell suspension (ASCS) has been demonstrated to significantly decrease donor skin requirements compared with traditional STSG in burn injuries. We hypothesized that the clinical performance of ASCS would be similar for soft tissue reconstruction of nonburn wounds. METHODS A multicenter, within-patient, evaluator-blinded, randomized-controlled trial was conducted of 65 patients with acute, nonthermal, full-thickness skin defects requiring autografting. For each patient, two treatment areas were randomly assigned to concurrently receive a predefined standard-of-care meshed STSG (control) or ASCS + more widely meshed STSG (ASCS+STSG). Coprimary endpoints were noninferiority of ASCS+STSG for complete treatment area closure by Week 8, and superiority for relative reduction in donor skin area. RESULTS At 8 weeks, complete closure was observed for 58% of control areas compared with 65% of ASCS+STSG areas (p = 0.005), establishing noninferiority of ASCS+STSG. On average, 27.4% less donor skin was required with ASCS+ STSG, establishing superiority over control (p < 0.001). Clinical healing (≥95% reepithelialization) was achieved in 87% and 85% of Control and ASCS+STSG areas, respectively, at 8 weeks. The treatment approaches had similar long-term scarring outcomes and safety profiles, with no unanticipated events and no serious ASCS device-related events. CONCLUSION ASCS+STSG represents a clinically effective and safe solution to reduce the amount of skin required to achieve definitive closure of full-thickness defects without compromising healing, scarring, or safety outcomes. This can lead to reduced donor site morbidity and potentially decreased cost associated with patient care. identifier: NCT04091672 LEVEL OF EVIDENCE Therapeutic/Care Management; Level I.

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