A Seaside City In Brazil Is Turning Tilapia Skin Into A Potential Medical Breakthrough

Doctors in Fortaleza, Brazil have a new and unusual method for treating burn victims: tilapia skin. It isn’t quite mainstream yet and is still being tested, but according to this video from STAT, patients and doctors are already promoting the new procedure.

Tilapia skin is abundant in Fortaleza, a beachside town in northeast Brazil. According to the STAT video, there’s so much tilapia skin that it has long been seen as waste. Thanks to a few creative doctors and brave patients, the skin is now improving the lives of those it touches.

Tilapia skin just might be the next big thing when it comes to healing burn victims.

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“It blocks outside contamination, it prevents the loss of moisture and proteins from the wound, and it stays bonded to the bed of the wound until it heals over,” Dr. Edmar Maciel told STAT. “It’s the first aquatic animal skin in the world to be tested on burn patients.”

The procedure is technically in the clinical trial phase, but doctors have liked the results so far.

STAT / Facebook

“We got a great surprise when we saw that the amount of collagen proteins types 1 and 3 which are very important for scarring, exist in large quantities in tilapia skin, even more than in human skin and other skins,” Maciel told PBS NewsHour. “Another factor we discovered is that the amount of tension and resistance in tilapia skin is much greater than in human skin. Also the amount of moisture.”

One of the greatest benefits of the tilapia skin is that it can stay on for the duration of the healing process.

STAT / Facebook

The tilapia skin is breathable enough that the skin doesn’t have to be removed for the length of the recovery. This is a significant advantage when compared to the traditional bandage and cream that have to be redressed daily which can be painful for the patient.

And, no. It doesn’t smell.

STAT / Facebook

Before being used as a bandage, the tilapia skin is sterilized, cleaned with an antiseptic and sent off for radiosterilization to ensure that it’s is immune from virus and infection.

Watch the full video by STAT below.

Can tilapia skin be used to bandage burns?Doctors in Brazil are testing the skin of the fish tilapia as a bandage for second- and third-degree burns — a innovation that arose from an unmet need. Read the story: https://www.statnews.com/2017/03/02/brazil-tilapia-skin-burns/

Posted by STAT on Thursday, March 2, 2017

READ: Here’s The Amazing Way This Mexican Doctor Is Helping Children Fight Cancer

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