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Laser-mediated fixation of collagen-based scaffolds to dermal wounds

: Steinsträsser, L.; Wehner, M.; Trust, G.; Sorkin, M.; Bao, D.; Hirsch, T.; Sudhoff, H.; Daigeler, A.; Stricker, I.; Steinau, H.-U.; Jacobsen, F.


Lasers in surgery and medicine 42 (2010), Nr.2, S.141-149
ISSN: 0196-8092
Fraunhofer ILT ()

Background and Objective: Collagen scaffolds are popular for the reconstitution of dermal equivalents. Usually, these scaffolds are fixed with sutures or staples and in many cases these devices have to be removed in a second procedure. Laser-mediated tissue welding in a wet environment is a potential alternative for collagen scaffold fixation and may be advantageous to suture, staple, and tissue glue fixation. Materials and Methods: Welding was performed with a continuous-wave diode laser system emitting radiation at a wavelength of 968 nm. Tensile strength after fixation to porcine skin and laser parameters were determined in vitro. In vivo, 24 excisional deep partial thickness wounds were created on flanks of two Goettingen mini pigs and covered with collagen scaffolds. These were randomized and fixated with either (1) staples, (2) fibrin glue, or (3) laser-mediated welding. Tissue biopsies for histological analysis were periodically performed and analyzed for wound healing progression, epidermal thickness, and extracellular matrix formation. Results: Biomechanical stability after laser welding was time dependent. A dwell time of up to 10 seconds led to a strong bonding with a tensile strength of more than 30 g. In vivo, the wound healing process was macroscopically comparable in all groups and showed no significant differences. Microscopic analysis determined a more progressed and quicker wound closure in both the laser and staples group compared to the fibrin glue fixated scaffold. Laser-mediated fixation led to a significantly reduced epidermal thickness when compared with stapling or fibrin glue (P < 0.05). Conclusions: Laser tissue welding is a feasible approach for temporary fixation of collagen scaffolds to the wound bed. It improves wound healing properties and may lead to faster wound healing and cosmetically better scarring. Laser tissue welding is thus a very interesting and promising alternative to currently established fixation methods in a single step, no touch procedure.