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Procedure makes skin grafts less painful for patients

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Posted at 10:24 PM, Jul 27, 2013
and last updated 2013-07-28 00:28:47-04

LAYTON, Utah – Skin grafting is often a painful and time-consuming process, but a new procedure being implemented at a Layton hospital is taking some of that pain away.

Doctors at Davis Hospital and Medical Center in Layton are using a procedure called CelluTome in skin transplants, and they said the procedure has many benefits over traditional skin grafts.

Don Child needs skin grafts, and his wife, Maxine, said he didn’t like being slowed up by recovery.

“He's a gardener, so he loves to be out in the yard and the garden all day in the summer, and he's been laying on the couch with his leg in the air,” she said.

Paul Barney, Davis Hospital and Medical Center, said the new process makes healing happen more quickly.

“It allows us to take the epidermis and transplant it or move it to a site where new skin needs to grow,” he said.

Experts said the process is better than traditional skin grafts because it removes the donor skin above the nerves and blood vessels.

“This process is minimally painful and is done in the office,” Barney said. “It costs much less and is much more comfortable to the patient."

Maxine Child described the patient experience.

"They have a little machine that they attach to his leg,” she said. “He wore it over his shoulder. He had to wear it 24 hours a day. And that caused the cells to grow back faster - he had a big hole in his leg."

Barney said the process relies on heat and suction.

"The combination of heat and suction, this device creates numerous, 50, very small microderms of epidermis,” he said.

Doctors said Don Child should be healed up in four of five weeks, and they said he will only need to visit a doctor once a week instead of three times each week. Davis Hospital and Medical Center is currently the only place in Utah to use the CelluTome procedure, and doctors said they are excited about the opportunities it provides to patients.

"Davis Hospital and Medical Center was very supportive of getting the equipment here so that I could start doing this,” Barney said. “I knew many patients who I was excited to use it on and knew they would benefit."