Tissue-engineered skin substitutes such as Apligraf® have emerged over the past 20 years as among the most carefully studied and efficacious of the advanced wound modalities. These products have been proven as effective enhancements to general wound care, promoting wound closure particularly in instances where conventional wound care fails. Marketed for hard-to-heal wounds since 1998, Apligraf® has become part of standard wound care in many wound centers across the United States. Despite this situation, few general wound care guidelines incorporate advanced and active wound-healing technologies, such as tissue-engineered skin products. Because of this deficiency, appropriate patient selection and proper use of these product remain largely unaddressed within the general wound care community. Here, we describe the development of guidelines surrounding optimal use of the bilayered living cell therapy, Apligraf®, in the treatment of the two types of lower extremity ulcers for which the product is FDA approved: venous leg ulcer and diabetic foot ulcer. The guidelines detailed in this article focus on the identification and selection of patients who are at risk for failure of standard wound care therapy and thus appropriate for Apligraf® treatment. The intended audience for these guidelines is the general wound care practitioner, for whom the developed treatment algorithms and accompanying figure legends should provide practical, user-friendly direction simplifying both patient selection and appropriate use of Apligraf® within the context of good wound-healing practice.
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