11 May 2018
CM Industrial By CM Medical

The Fish Changing the Face of Burn Treatment.


This is the Tilapia Fish...

You might not have come across one before, but they’re an extremely helpful and popular fish. Found in various locations around the world, we farm almost 1.5m tonnes of them every year, but when it comes to tilapia, the fun doesn’t stop at the dinner table.

They’re also handy at cleaning up our waters, due to their penchant for eating plants like duckweed and other problematic marine plants. They basically eat the stuff that other fish won’t touch.

They’re the fish that keeps on giving. And now scientists have found a use for the in the medical sector, helping to treat burn victims.

Collagen is a protein found in the skin and other connective tissues. This proetin helps bind the skin together and gives it it’s elasticity. The properties of collagen mean that collagen dressings can be useful in treating second and third degree burns, as it stimulates new tissue growth and attracts cells to the wound, helping it to heal.

So, where does the fish come in?

Doctors have traditionally taken collagen from harvesting healthy skin to help with wound care and burn treatment. This can be extremely painful. However, in 2017, doctors in Brazil found the skin of the tilapia to contain large amounts of collagen proteins.

They also found that the fish skin had pain relief properties, and in some cases could just be left on the burned area until it began to scar. 

This treatment is also incredibly cost-effective, thanks to our extensive farming of the tilapia. Traditionally, its skin has been seen as wastage, making it extremely cheap - 75 cents less than traditional bandages per application. 

We’re not there yet, but fresh or powdered tilapia skin could become a mainstay in the burn wards and emergency departments of hospitals around the world. It looks like these helpful fish are our friends too, not just food.


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