TUCSON, Ariz. – Surgeons from the University of Arizona Department of Surgery Southern Arizona Limb Salvage Alliance (SALSA) performed a first-ever “micrografting skin expansion” procedure on a diabetic foot wound at University Medical Center last week. The procedure, designed to replace certain types of skin grafting, takes a much smaller amount of grafting than previously required.
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.
Micrografting skin is not a new technique, but the procedure performed by David G. Armstrong, DPM, PhD, UA professor of surgery and SALSA director, and his vascular surgery team was the first ever using a technique made possible with a new device developed by Elof Eriksson, MD, PhD, 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. 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,” Dr. Armstrong explained.
“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.
“Advances in wound care offer hope for patients who have acute and chronic wounds. We think this procedure could potentially help our patients with diabetes at high risk for amputation and also help many of our soldiers on the front lines who suffer devastating injuries,” Dr. Armstrong said.