Use of Autologous Skin Cell Suspension for the Treatment of Hand Burns: A Pilot Study

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Journal of Hand Surgery Global Online


Purpose: Autologous skin cell suspension (ASCS) is a valid alternative and adjunct to split-thickness skin grafting (STSG) for treating burns. Limited data exists regarding the use of ASCS for hand burns. We hypothesized that using ASCS in hand burns shortens healing time with no difference in complications and less donor site morbidity. Methods: This was a retrospective chart review of second- and third-degree hand burns treated at a level 1 Trauma and Burn Center from 2017 to 2019. Study groups included patients with hand burns treated with ASCS in combination with STSG and those treated with STSG alone. Outcomes included time to re-epithelialization, return to work, length of hospital stay, and complications including reoperation, graft failure, and infection. Results: Fifty-nine patients aged 14 to 85 years (mean age 39 ± 15 years) met inclusion criteria. The ASCS treatment group comprised 37 patients; STSG comprised 22 patients. Mean follow-up time was 14 ± 7 months. The ASCS treatment group had a larger mean percent total body surface area (TBSA) (22% ± 14% vs 6% ± 8%; P < .05). There was no difference in time to wound re-epithelialization between both groups (ASCS, 11 ± 4 days vs STSG, 11 ± 5 days). Mean length-of-stay was 23 ± 13 days compared to 10 ± 13 days (P < .05) between the ASCS and STSG groups, respectively. No patients in the ASCS group required reoperation, whereas 2 patients in the STSG group required such for an infection-related graft loss and a web space contracture release. On multivariable analysis adjusting for TBSA, ASCS was associated with an earlier return to work (P < .05). Conclusions: ASCS is safe and effective in treating hand burns. ASCS was associated with similar rates of re-epithelialization, earlier return to work, and no difference in complications compared with STSG. Type of study/level of evidence: Therapeutic IV.

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