To say that wound healing is a complex process is a bit of an understatement. However, disruptions caused by poor blood flow and comorbidities can result in chronic wounds that are difficult to heal.
Cellular and tissue products (CTPs) can be good options in these difficult cases, in lieu of more invasive treatments such as skin grafting, to provide temporary wound coverage, to reduce healing time, and to improve function. These CTPs have shown efficacy in improving healing rates and reducing complications in a variety of wounds including DFUs, burn injuries, pressure, trauma, and surgical wounds, amongst others.
CTPs are either acellular or cellular. Acellular products contain hyaluronic acid, collagen, and/or fibronectin in a matrix, but the cellular components have been stripped out. Cellular products consist of living cells such as keratinocytes and fibroblasts within a matrix. These cells can be autologous, allogeneic, or from animal sources. Advancements in CTPs have allowed for the inclusion of additional growth factors, collagen and stem cells to improve the efficacy of these grafts.
A provider should consider using advanced biologic therapies when wound healing has stalled, when wounds are large or deep, and when there are comorbidities.
Biological dressings are cost-effective for both the wound patient and the wound center. If properly coded, CTPs can be a profit center for the wound center. For the patient, CTPs can prevent amputation, thereby lowering overall healthcare costs and improving quality of life.