In the past, the most common way to treat first to second degree burns is with skin grafts, a process that includes taking pieces of skin from uninjured parts of the patient’s body or grafting artificial skin and grafting them over the burned area. This treatment was somewhat effective, however resulted in a recovery period of several weeks to several months. A new treatment has been developed that drastically decreases the amount of time required for a burn to heal.
A “gun” that has been developed to spray a layer of the patient’s own skin stem cells onto the wounded area has proved to be very successful. This type of treatment has been used since 2002 in Australia, Dr. Fiona Wood uses an aerosol system to spray on cultured skin cells.
The process necessary to initiate this treatment is very minimal, a biopsy is taken from the patient’s undamaged skin, healthy stem cells are isolated and an aqueous solution containing the cells is inserted into the gun and then sprayed on. The “gun” uses an electronically controlled pneumatic device that functions similar to a paint ball gun. After the cells are applied, a specially developed dressing is applied along with two sets of tubes, one functioning as an artery, supplying electrolytes, antibiotics, amino acids and glucose to the wounded area, and one set acting as a vein.
Currently, the treatment is only effective on second-degree burns, healing these within days rather than weeks or months required with previous treatments.