Healicoll: An Alternate to Flap Cover for Bare Bones and Tendons
Background: Wounds with bare bone, joint and tendons in the extremities have been a formidable challenge to plastic surgeons. Although several skin substitutes are used in West, as both dermal and epidermal analogue, they are expensive and most of them are unavailable in India. It is in this scenario that Healicoll – a type 1 pure collagen as a possible dermal substitute is being investigated. The material ‘Healicoll’ is a type-1 native collagen derived from the bovine source and is bioengineered, biocompatible and biodegradable skin substitute. The advantages of Healicoll have led us to an increase in its use for complex wounds. Medical literature on Healicoll, thus far has only reported its use for superficial burns and ulcers.
Materials & Methods: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the advantages of using an inexpensive, easily available, bioengineered skin substitute ‘Healicoll’ for the closure of bare bone, joints and tendon.
Results: Healicoll was used in three patients with two patients having undergone surgery involving use of Healicoll for bare bones, joints and tendons after release of contracture following burns and trauma, and one patient was treated with Healicoll as an outpatient procedure for bare bones following electrical burns. The mean hospital stay was 15 days. In all the three cases, a clear neodermis had covered the bones and joints in 5 days time and was ready to support the take of skin graft.
Conclusions: Based on our initial experience, Healicoll skin substitute offers an excellent alternative for rapid reconstruction obviating the need for flap cover for wounds that have been difficult to reconstruct.