Researchers have presented findings of their study on the effectiveness of fish skin for wound treatment.

A new development in skin substitutes for wound care involving fish skin may present another option for treatment, one with natural benefits.

The Food and Drug Administration recently approved a treatment for wound care involving fish skin following a clinical trial to determine its effectiveness on burns and wound types. The procedure is believed to be particularly useful for treating wounds suffered by service members.

A long history

In their article, “Biologic and synthetic skin substitutes: An overview,” which appeared in the Indian Journal of Plastic Surgery, researchers Ahmad Sukari Halim, Teng Lye Khoo, and Shah Jumaat Mohd. Yussof state that the use of skin substitutes to help in wound healing dates back as far as 15 B.C. and that the use of human skin was recorded in 1503.

Since that time, artificial skin substitutes (such as silicone and nylon or a silicon-human skin combination) and permanent skin substitutes that are meant to fully replace the entire thickness of the skin at the wound site.

The article adds that the use and application of skin substitutes are contingent on several wound healing factors, including site and depth of the wound, the possibility of infection and availability of a donor.

Fish skin as wound treatment

The use of dried and processed fish skin is the latest in a series of natural skin substitutes used in wound treatment. The list includes pig intestines, fetal cow skin and human allograft (the epidermal and dermal skin layers of human cadavers).

A Bloomberg Businessweek article stated that fish skin not only poses less of a viral disease risk than other natural human and animal skin substitutes, but requires less extensive processing.

Fish skin, the article states, contains omega-3 fatty acids that offer natural anti-inflamatory properties that can speed healing. The skin also reportedly works as an extracellular matrix that binds to the cells around the wound and promotes the growth of new skin. This, they said, is key because the natural cell growth fails to develop in chronic wounds.

Meanwhile, an article on Nasdaq Globe Newswire states that the company behind the development of the fish skin wound care treatment sees it as a possible treatment option for wounded service members.

In research commissioned by the Office of Naval Research and the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, medics used the fish skin for initial treatment of limb injuries and through to transfer to a full-service hospital to debridement where the skin is used as a substitute skin graft. It’s expected that the new procedure will be made available in a combat medical facility.

Advanced Tissue is the nation’s leader in delivering specialized wound care supplies to patients, delivering to both homes and long-term care facilities.