Speaker: Extracellular matrix powder may reduce residual limb scarring

LAS VEGAS — Extracellular matrix powder created from layers of a pig bladder can help reconstruct tissue on a patient’s residual limb to reduce scarring, according to Bruce Kraemer, MD, FACS, a professor of plastic surgery at the Saint Louis University School of Medicine.

“There is a technology we use called an extracellular matrix (ECM) wound device that we can enhance and change the way we heal,” Kraemer said at the Hanger Education Clinic and National Meeting.

Bruce Kraemer

He said he tried the technique on a patient who lost his fingertips in an accident that involved a truck engine. According to Kraemer, 1 week after applying the powder to the patient’s wounds, the tissue began to reform. Eventually, all the wounds healed surrounding the distal phalanges, which allowed the patient to maintain hand function.

ECM can be applied in powder form and can be used during the first several days of treatment or it can be applied as a sheet, which can work for up to 8 weeks or longer, Kraemer said. Once applied, it constructively remodels cells depending on where it is placed on the body.

“The body replaces this wound device with its own native tissues. Nerves like it. Blood vessels like it. It blocks inflammation. It has performed when there are bacteria in the wound. The only negative is that it takes time to heal,” he said. “It is site-specific constructive remodeling. In experimental models, [if] you put it on tendon tissue, it will replace itself with tendon tissue. If you put it in skeletal muscles, it will grow back some skeletal muscles. The body reforms the tissue that are missing.”

Kraemer added, “[The result is] not perfect, but it is better than what you had and it certainly beats scarring.” – by Jason Laday


Kraemer B. Presented at: Hanger Education Fair and National Meeting. Jan. 30-Feb. 3, 2017; Las Vegas.

Disclosure: Kraemer reports he received speaking fees from ACell.

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