Tuesday, March 7, 2017
Can tilapia skin be used to bandage burns? - RESEARCH
Doctors in Brazil are testing the skin of the fish tilapia as a bandage for second- and third-degree burns — a innovation that arose from an unmet need.
The first step in the research process was to analyze the fish skin.
“We got a great surprise when we saw that the amount of collagen proteins, types 1 and 3, which are very important for scarring, exist in large quantities in tilapia skin, even more than in human skin and other skins,” said Dr. Edmar Maciel, a plastic surgeon and burn specialist leading the clinical trials with tilapia skin.
“Another factor we discovered is that the amount of tension, of resistance in tilapia skin is much greater than in human skin. Also the amount of moisture.”
In patients with superficial second-degree burns, the doctors apply the fish skin and leave it until the patient scars naturally. For deep second-degree burns, the tilapia bandages must be changed a few times over several weeks of treatment.
The tilapia treatment also cuts down healing time by up to several days and reduces the use of pain medication, Maciel said.