Bioengineered tissue is used to treat chronic wounds, and in some cases may be a viable alternative to skin grafts taken from the patient’s body, especially for difficult-to-heal surgical wounds, diabetic foot ulcers, leg ulcers, and lower extremity ulcers. Other terms for bioengineered skin are tissue-engineered skin substitutes, artificial skin, living skin equivalents, human skin equivalents, or skin alternatives.
Bioengineered skin is made in a lab by growing cells on a supportive matrix. The “seed” cells may come from the patient’s own body, from other human sources or from animal sources. Bioengineered skin may be made entirely of lab-produced substances like collagen, polymers and silicone or composed of a combination of artificial and organic materials.
Bioengineered skin helps wounds heal by promoting new skin growth and introducing living cells to create a moist wound environment and structural support. It also helps lower the risk of infection by closing the wound.