Here’s a first: tilapia fish skin is now being used to treat second degree burns. Go figure.
Who would have thought fish skin had healing properties? Well, it apparently does. Maria Ines Candido da Silva, a 36 year old waitress from Russas, Brazil, was recently left with horrific injuries when a gas canister exploded at work. After suffering second degree burns to her arms, neck, and face, she became the first patient in the world to have her wounds treated with fish skin.
The skin of a tilapia was used to dress Silva’s wounds in a new technique that studies show can considerably reduce the damage inflicted on skin as a result of burns.
“The fish skin was chosen as it contains high levels of collagen type one and high degrees of humidity which help speed up healing and provide patients with essential proteins.”
“When doctors suggested putting fish skin on my wounds I found the idea really strange. But I jumped at the chance because they said it would be far less painful than the normal treatment and easier to manage.”
“It was a really bizarre experience. I felt like I was in a sci-fi movie when the Tilapia fish skin was being put on.
“At first the fish skin felt really cold but within minutes of it being laid on, I didn’t feel any more pain and it felt cool and comforting. I was really surprised and grateful that it didn’t smell either.”
A normal course of treatment for second degree burns is sulphur sulphadiazine. However, bandages and dressings need to be changed daily, causing a great deal of pain, and the patient must also have an anesthetic shower. Failure to follow through with any of these treatments can lead to infection and the wound will begin emitting an offensive odor after 24 hours.
With the fish skin treatment, patients are pain free and healing is reduced by one to two days.
Doctors have been working on this breakthrough project for two years and it is their hope to release it worldwide in the near future.