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Epidermal Cell Culture

The epidermal grafts, cultured in test tubes (a process also known as “in vitro”),

consist of autologous epidermal cells – the keratinocytes. These grafts may be applied as epidermal membrane or epidermal cell suspension, depending on the type of wound (size, location, shape/form) and the attending physicianʼs assessment..

For the treatment of smaller problematic wounds,

or those with healing complications, epidermal cells are isolated from a skin sample roughly the size of a postage stamp, which is taken from an inconspicuous location on the body (between the legs, for example) under local anesthesia. Subsequently, the epidermal cells are reproduced in a specific cell culture under standardized and strictly supervised conditions, which are also subject to monitoring by government health authorities. The cell growth is then stimulated by a nutrient solution. The keratinocytes attach themselves to the bottom of special cell culture dishes and then begin with their growth phase.

Within a few days time,

little islands of epidermal cells begin to form in the cell dish. These islands form the basis for epidermal cell suspension (a suspension that consists of individual cells), which are obtained for transplantation. During longer culturing periods, these islands continue to grow and expand, ultimately uniting to form a closed cell layer of epidermal membrane (the keratinocyte sheet). This epidermal membrane consists of a united cell structure with multiple cell layers. The thin and fragile epidermal membrane is carefully removed from the culture dish and gently placed upon a
special petrolatum gauze, which ensures better handling during clinical application. After the cells begin to grow and reproduce in the wound, this supportive petrolatum gauze material is ultimately removed from the epidermal membrane.

Epidermic cell suspensions and epidermal membranes,

varying in size depending on the requested cell volume and surface, are safely transported to the hospital or clinic in a nutrient solution. They arrive exactly on the transplant date, and are handed over to the attending physician.