Cross-linked, allogeneic, telopeptide-depleted dermal grafts were lyophilized and laminated with silicone rubber elastomer. Resultant bilayers were studied for incorporation into the wound site and capacity to inhibit cutaneous wound contraction in experimental animals. Bilateral full-thickness skin wounds were made in 20 male New Zealand white rabbits. One side was grafted with the processed graft, while the contralateral side remained ungraded as a control wound. Over 63 days, wound sites were analyzed at intervals on the basis of the extent and rate of wound contraction and by histologic examination. Cutaneous wounds successfully incorporated graft matrix and were significantly inhibited in their rate and extent of wound contraction. Notably, by day 63, grafted wounds retained 71 percent of their original area, whereas ungrafted control wounds retained only 16 percent of their original area. There were no graft rejections, and the bilayer graft’s dermal analogue appeared to function as a biodegradable template that physically conformed neodermis to a preestablished pattern while counteracting contractile forces. This investigation suggests that, in experimental animals, the success of bilayer dermal grafts is less dependent on highly specialized and complex preparative techniques than typically has been presumed and that relatively simple, previously published, nonproprietary techniques, when adapted to a bilayer format, yield acceptable results as defined in terms of biocompatibility, capacity for graft incorporation, and inhibition of wound contraction.
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