This study investigated the recovery process during which grafted cultured epithelium generated skin elasticity and skin surface microarchitecture. The subjects were 18 patients whose burn scars were excised at a depth not exposing the fat layer and who subsequently received cultured epithelial autografts. A total of 24 samples were obtained from the grafted sites: 6 samples within 6weeks (stage 1), 5 samples after 6weeks and within 6months (stage 2), 6 samples after 6months and within 18months (stage 3) and 7 samples beyond 18months (stage 4) of transplantation. These samples were evaluated by taking replicas of skin surface, and histological changes of fibrillin-1 and elastin. The expression patterns were classified using a grading scale. The grade of skin surface texture was significantly higher at stage 3 and marginally significantly higher at stage 4 compared with stage 1. The grade of fibrillin-1 was marginally significantly higher at stage 3 and significantly higher at stage 4 compared with stage 1. The grade of elastin was marginally significantly higher at stage 4 compared with stage 1. These results showed that it is important for patients to have skin care and avoid external forces for at least 18months after transplantation.
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