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Shivani Acharya

Use of Tilapia Skin Graft for Burns

13 August 2021

Over the years, through global efforts to develop effective and inexpensive dressings and treatments, burn management has been developed. The main goal of treatment is to remove the entire thickness of burn tissue and close the wound to avoid damage, metabolic and functional complications while allowing tissue repair. Various materials have been proposed as biological coatings for burn wounds, such as pericardium and pigskin, bovine peritoneum, and amniotic membrane. Recently, tilapia skin has also been considered as a possible biomaterial due to its collagen, histological and mechanical similarities with human skin, and other available biomaterials.


Oreochromis niloticus belongs to the cichlid family. It comes from the Nile River Basin in East Africa and is now commonly found in tropical and subtropical regions of the world..Initially, tilapia skin was considered a noble commercial tanning product; its potential use as a biological dressing is almost limitless, with low price and high quality. Odorico de Morais, a professor at the University of Ceara, said that the use of tilapia scrub for burns is unprecedented. Fish skins are usually thrown away, so we use this product to make them useful to society. Technicians in university laboratories treat fish skins with various disinfectants, and then send them for irradiation and virus elimination, before packaging and refrigeration. According to the researchers, treatment can last up to two years. In medical research, used replacement therapy has been used to treat second and third-degree burns. Patients with limbs covered in fish skin are like science fiction movies. Using tilapia to heal the skin was more effective than changing the bandage every other day. Type 1 collagen retains moisture for longer than gauze and does not need to be changed frequently. It is directly applied to the burned area and covered with a non-cream bandage. About 10 days later, the doctor removes the bandage. Dry tilapia skin will peel off. The cost of treating tilapia skin is 75% lower than that of sulfadiazine cream. Because of its low cost, it is widely used for burn patients in Brazil. Researchers hope that this treatment will be commercially viable and will encourage companies to use tilapia skin for medical purposes.



Burns are responsible for more serious injuries that may occur to a person. In addition, many people get affected worldwide every year by burning. They can be distinguished by type (thermal burn, chemical burn, and electric burn) and classification 1 degree, 2 degrees, or 3 degrees. These factors act on the mucous membrane of the human body, determine the partial or complete destruction of the skin and its adhesions, and promote the deeper penetration of subcutaneous fat, muscles, tendons, and bones.


Benefits of Tilapia skin

Tilapia skin has advantages over pig skin, the benefit of using tilapia skin are lower the chance of disease transmission, and a higher strength and moisture level symbolize human skin to facilitate healing. In addition to that, it has a high Collagen Content which is an important component for Burn Healing. Pig skin is 78% compatible with human skin and has been used to treat burns. It also contains a large amount of collagen and a structure similar to human skin and can be used in human skin healing to be important in case of burns. One of the biggest problems with its use is disease transmission and the high cost relative to the skin of tilapia.



After passing through it, it kills any viruses by irradiating them before the skin is packaged and cooled. Cleaned and treated once lasts the skin for up to two years and the treatment removes any fishy odor. Treatment involves covering the burned part of the patient's skin with fish skin and applying a non-cream bandage. About 10 days later, the doctor removes the tilapia bandage that had been applied to the skin. Dry and loose burns can be removed by hand.



From this, we can conclude that fish skin treatment is a new technology that can provide rapid recovery and low cost for people with severe burns. The use of fish skin in medical treatment has many advantages, such as faster healing and lower drug consumption, so it can save costs. Because it is very similar to human skin, it easily adheres to the affected area and does not need to be replaced at the end of the treatment. This method causes a little discomfort, quick recovery, and less pain. Initial treatment for a possible successful recovery is essential.

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