Burns research & reconstructive surgery

Quality assessment of meshed skin graft temporally stored at 4oC

Li Z., Maitz P., Overend C., Ledgard J. and Kennedy K.

Excess split-skin autografts harvested and meshed during a surgical session are often stored at 4oC short-term for later burn surgery or graft failure. The quality of the stored skin is obviously critical to the success of skin grafts and needs to be assured.

The current procedure in skin graft storage in Australian hospitals involves wrapping the meshed autograft on a piece of saline-moistened gauze, transferring it into a sterile specimen jar and storing it in a 4oC fridge for use within two weeks. Some studies have demonstrated that viability of the stored skin tissue could be maintained for several more weeks, depending on the storage conditions, although it will decrease through this period. However, the viability assay in previous studies was usually achieved by Trypan blue staining of the skin cells, a method which does not truly reflect the growth or cloning ability. In this study, we have been carrying out a time-course assessment of the stored skin tissue using both cell viability assay and skin cell culture techniques. We have also checked the microbiological status of the stored skin grafts, and tried to optimize the storage conditions of skin grafts in different media.