Dermagraft is a US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved skin substitute that helps heal diabetic foot ulcers. These ulcers are serious wounds that occur most often in the skin over the ball of the foot or on the bottom of the big toe.
Dermagraft is a dissolvable mesh material that contains human connective tissue cells called fibroblasts. Dermagraft is placed directly on the ulcer, where the mesh and fibroblasts are gradually absorbed. Fibroblasts produce many of the same factors found in healthy skin. As the fibroblasts attach and grow in the wound, they help replace and rebuild the damaged parts in the foot.
Dermagraft can be used on the following types of ulcers:
- Full-thickness diabetic foot ulcers that have been present for longer than six weeks
- Ulcers that extend deeper into the skin where the blood vessels are, but do not involve tendon, muscle, joint capsule, or bone
There are certain cases when Dermagraft should not be used, such as:
- Infected ulcers
- Ulcers with sinus tracts (tunneling) leading from the bones to the skin
- People who are allergic to products derived from cows. There is bovine (cow) serum in the Dermagraft solution.
People with diabetes are more likely to develop foot problems such as:
- Changes in the skin of the feet, specifically drying and cracking
- Nerve damage, which decreases feeling in the feet and allows wounds to occur unnoticed
- Poor circulation, which makes fighting infection and wound healing difficult
These problems make people with diabetes more susceptible to sores. If you have diabetes, inspect your feet every day. Seek care right away if you have a foot injury. Also, have your feet checked by your doctor at least once a year.
Dermagraft—P000036. US Food and Drug Administration website. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/ProductsandMedicalProcedures/DeviceApprovalsandClearances/Recently-ApprovedDevices/ucm085085.htm. Updated September 5, 2013. Accessed November 8, 2013.
Diabetic foot ulcer. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us. Updated October 7, 2013. Accessed November 8, 2013.
Ehrenreich M, Ruszczak Z. Update on tissue-engineered biological dressings.
Tissue Eng. 2006;12(9):2407-2424. Review.
Marston WA. Dermagraft, a bioengineered human dermal equivalent for the treatment of chronic nonhealing diabetic foot ulcer.
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Patient Guide. Hannibal Regional Medical Group website. Available at: http://hannibalregionalmedicalgroup.org/Portals/0/dermagraft_patient_guide.pdf. Published 2008. Accessed November 8, 2013.
Last reviewed November 2013 by Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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