UC Health first in region to use spray on skin for burn patients
The idea is huge, and the benefits are big for burn patients. Spray on skin, called RECELL, is now approved for both adults and children, sparing them the unnecessary pain of dozens of skin grafts.
UC Health says it’s the first in the region to use the technology made by Avita.
Assistant Medical Director of the University of Cincinnati Burn Center Julia Slater MD, explains the RECELL kit comes with everything you need. “It actually has an area where you add powder that’s reconstituted that contains enzymes. And that’s what helps break down the sample of skin into something that you can create a slurry that you can spray on.”
What’s in the spray on skin?
Trypsin is the only enzyme Avita lists, the rest are proprietary. Slater says some of the other things like melanocytes (color of the skin) and keratinocytes (which give strength) are present in the liquid she puts into a syringe and sprays onto the wound beds.
The spray is applied in the operating room and can make a small piece of skin go 80 times further with RECELL.
Does it work?
Nurse and Program Director at the UC Burn Unit Chad McGarvie sees it as a game changer. “It’s great because we can decrease the amount of dressing changes that we have to conduct. The patients get out of bed, shorter periods of time for post-operative recovery. And then their stay ends up being shorter in the long run,” he says.
UC has used it on a handful of patients in the last six months. It is expensive, but insurance pays for it it. Recently, its manufacturer announced Medicare and Medicaid would cover it.
Dr. Slater sees RECELL helping patients with congenital disorders of the skin, like blistering, as well as more widespread use for patients with smaller burns in outpatient facilities.