Use of acellular intact fish skin grafts in treating acute paediatric wounds during the COVID-19 pandemic: A case series

Guido Ciprandi*, Hilmar Kjartansson, Francesca Grussu, Baldur Tumi Baldursson, Jacopo Frattaroli, Urbano Urbani, Mario Zama

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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OBJECTIVE: More specific strategies are needed to support children requiring skin grafting. Our goal was to identify procedures that reduce operating times, post-operative complications, pain and length of hospital stay. Patient safety, optimal wound bed support and quick micro-debridement with locoregional anaesthesia were prioritised. Ultimately, a novel acellular fish skin graft (FSG) derived from north Atlantic cod was selected for use.

METHOD: We admitted consecutive paediatric patients with various lesions requiring skin grafting for definitive wound closure. All FSGs were applied and bolstered in the operating room following debridement.

RESULTS: In a cohort of 15 patients, the average age was 8 years and 9 months (4 years 1 month-13 years 5 months). Negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT) was given to 12 patients. Rapid wound healing was observed in all patients, with a wound area coverage of 100% and complete healing in 95% of wounds. Time until engraftment in patients receiving NPWT was reduced by about a half (to an average 12 days) from our standard experience of 21 days. Ten patients received locoregional anaesthesia and were discharged after day surgery. The operating time was <60 minutes, and no complications or allergic reactions were reported. Excellent pliability of the healed wound was achieved in all patients, without signs of itching and scratching in the postoperative period. This case series is the first and largest using FSG to treat paediatric patients with different wound aetiologies. We attribute the rapid transition to acute wound status and the good pliability of the new epidermal-dermal complex to the preserved molecular components of the FSG, including omega-3.

CONCLUSION: FSG represents an innovative and sustainable solution for paediatric wound care that results in shorter surgery time and reduced hospital stays, with accelerated wound healing times.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)824-831
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of wound care
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2022

Bibliographical note

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© 2022 MA Healthcare Ltd. All rights reserved.

Other keywords

  • Animals
  • COVID-19
  • Fishes
  • Humans
  • Negative-Pressure Wound Therapy/methods
  • Pandemics
  • Skin Transplantation/methods
  • Wound Healing


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