Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Pinch skin grafting or porcine dermis in venous ulcers: a randomised clinical trial.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1987; 294 doi: (Published 14 March 1987) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1987;294:674
  1. K R Poskitt,
  2. A H James,
  3. E R Lloyd-Davies,
  4. J Walton,
  5. C McCollum


    Chronic venous ulcers are common, and even with effective compression or elevation large ulcers may take months to heal. Pinch skin grafting may allow healing from epithelial islands throughout the surface area of the ulcer, and a prospective randomised trial was therefore conducted comparing this treatment with porcine dermis dressings. Most patients were treated as outpatients, 25 ulcers being randomised to treatment with pinch skin grafts and 28 to treatment with porcine dermis. Though the groups were well matched, the mean healing rate in the first week was 15 cm2 for pinch skin grafts compared with 3.5 cm2 with porcine dermis (p less than 0.02). By life table analysis 64% of ulcers treated by pinch grafts were healed at six weeks and 74% by 12 weeks compared with 29% and 46% of ulcers, respectively, treated with porcine dermis dressings (chi2 = 4.1; p less than 0.05). All ulcers that failed to heal within 12 weeks included an area posterior to the medial malleolus, where local compression may have been inadequate. Pinch skin grafting improves the rate of healing in large venous ulcers and is a simple technique that may be performed as an outpatient procedure under local anaesthesia.