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Skin storage

BMJ 1996; 313 doi: (Published 24 August 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;313:439
  1. S R Myers, Research registrar,
  2. M R Machesney, Research registrar,
  3. R M Warwick, Consultant haematologist,
  4. P D Cussons, Consultant plastic surgeon
  1. Restoration of Appearance and Function Trust (RAFT), Mount Vernon Hospital, Northwood, Middlesex HA6 2RN
  2. North London Tissue Bank, Deansbrook Road, London HA8 9BD
  3. Regional Burns Unit, Mount Vernon and Watford Hospital NHS Trust, Northwood, Middlesex HA6 2RN

    National blood transfusion centres could take on skin banking and distribution

    “It needs no argument to convince trauma and plastic surgeons that one of the greatest needs at present is a readily available source of skin for covering large superficial areas of the body lost by trauma. Indeed, in certain eventualities the need may become desperate. It therefore behoves us to take stock and determine what shall be done.”1

    In Britain, 45 years after Pickerill wrote this, there is still no nationally available source of cryopreserved cadaveric skin. In the United States, however, skin banking is well established. The American Association of Tissue Banks (AATB), founded in 1976, lists 18 banks accredited to process allograft skin, most by cryopreservation. For the same per capita provision, one might expect four accredited skin banks in Britain. The newly formed British Association of Tissue Banks (BATB) drafted minimum standards for skin banking in June 1995. In Europe, skin banking is almost a cottage industry, with unregistered centres linked to burns units processing tissue for local use. There are about five such centres in Britain, most with inadequate organisation or funding to form part of …

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