Acellular Fish Skin Grafts for Surgical Wounds

ArticleLast Updated November 20232 min read
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Naghi R, Maxwell EA, Carrillo AJ, Bertran J, Souza CHDM. Acellular fish skin may be used to facilitate wound healing following wide surgical tumor excision in dogs: a prospective case series. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2023;261(10):1547-1554. doi:10.2460/javma.23.03.0157

Research Note

Obtaining histologically clean margins during surgical removal of locally invasive tumors can be difficult in areas (eg, distal extremities) where skin is sparse. In addition to reconstructive techniques, second-intention healing may be used for management of open surgical wounds but has disadvantages, including infection, delayed healing, and cost.

Acellular fish skin graft (FSG) is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, collagen, fibrin, proteoglycans, and glycosaminoglycans and has recently become available for use in humans. FSGs do not incite an autoimmune response or transmit diseases to mammals, are an effective antimicrobial barrier, can be stored at room temperature for 3 years, and can accelerate wound healing.

In this prospective study, FSGs were applied to surgical wound beds in 5 dogs following wide surgical excision of skin tumors on distal extremities. Bandages were changed weekly. Complete epithelialization occurred within 7 to 15 weeks, with no evidence of surgical site infection or adverse effects. The authors concluded that FSGs are an affordable and stable product, do not require specialty training, and can be easily incorporated into general practice for wound management.