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In this episode of the proderm stories the proderm team will explore wound healing models we use at proderm. Injured skin can be an entry point to dangerous infections and cause scars, so consumers and patients care a lot about safe and effective wound healing treatments that help restore the barrier function of the skin and reduce the likelihood of an infection. Many medical devices claim beneficial effects in wound healing. At proderm, our expertise in skin physiology and clinical methods will find the right wound model for your product!

Our recruiting team is great at finding volunteers and patients for wound healing studies, which is not an easy task given the nature of the procedures, but of course volunteers are not the only condition for a successful wound healing study: Qualified and competent study staff is just as hard to come by and at proderm, we will make sure our study team is well trained and ready to draw first blood! We sat down with one of our experienced study nurses to talk about the gory details!

Interview with a study technician

Tell me Katja - How long have you been working with wound models?

Since 2019. Right from the start, my first study at proderm was a study with a wound model.

What kind of model was that?

A razor burn irritation model - where wounds are set using razors. But I also worked with other wound models at proderm!

What kind of models were they?

For example, after the shaving study, I worked on a study with an abrasion model where you create a defined wound with some sort of small wire brush. The skin is brushed until a wound is created. A colleague put a foil with a hole over the spot and I usually was the one brushing (laughs). I have also done suction blister studies. There will be another suction blister study soon!

What is your favorite wound model and why?
The suction blister model I would say... Subjects get a suction cup on their forearm. This then lifts the epidermis off the dermis and a fluid filled blister forms. You then suck the fluid out with a syringe and cut the epidermis off with scissors and you have a very well defined circular wound. The blisters really look like the subjects have shiny beads on their arms! It's a little more exciting for the study staff in terms of execution than the other models.

What was it like setting a wound for the first time?

With the razor, it wasn't that spectacular I have to say, because you don't really see the wound until a few days later. In general, it was something new for me, I do not come from the medical field, but I find the wound setting not as bad as others might. Brushing is a bit worse because it bleeds and you really have to be careful not to brush too long so that you don't hurt the subjects. But it's important to brush long enough, because if you stop once and realize it's not enough, you can't really start over, because then it hurts.

Did you practice this before?

As for the suction blister model, we "practice" directly on volunteers under the guidance of a very experienced colleague, because it is a very time-consuming process of 3-6 hours.

For whom is it worse - for you or the subject?

It tends to be worse for the subjects, especially if they don't know the procedure. It helps if they look away while brushing. Later, when they realize that it doesn't hurt, they also tend to take an interest and watch. With the suction blister model, I always told them beforehand that it wouldn't hurt because we were only taking off the epidermis. When I noticed that they were a bit scared because of the syringe and the scissors, I tried to calm them down and recommended that they rather look away... Our models really don't hurt; it's more a head thing.

What about those who have already been through it? Do the volunteers ever come back after such a procedure?

Yes, definitely, they like to come back, even though it is the most exhausting for the test person, as they have to sit on the device for up to 6 hours, depending on how quickly a blister forms. They are allowed to eat and drink during that time, but not to go to the toilet. But it is the least painful wound model!

And on the performing side as a study technician, do you enjoy setting wounds?

Enjoy it?!, So if I say yes there now, it sounds like I'm a psychopath (laughs). But compared to other examinations we do at proderm, the job is more challenging and interesting - especially the suction blister. Overall, I enjoy the work and I don't have any fear or disgust about setting wounds.

On the topic of challenge, what is the most challenging part of doing wound models in general?

(Thinks about it) Hmm..., the biggest challenge is actually to get the uniformity of the wound that is needed for the model and the skin is a little different for everyone, especially with the abrasion model. It is not so easy! With the razor burn model, for example, it is totally important to exert enough force, and in the beginning you don't really dare, but with a little practice you will quickly become more confident. For me personally, the biggest challenge in the suction blister model was overcoming the fear of missing the mark or sticking the needle in too far when emptying the suction blister... In the beginning, I always continuously guided the test subjects through the suction blister model.

If you had to pick a wound model to be performed on yourself, which one would you pick?

Well, I think most people experienced razor burn before, but when it comes to the others, I would definitely pick the suction blister model!

Thanks a lot !

Related content

Picking the right wound model

Learn more about the different wound models that we use and access a case study on the topic.

Wound care products

Read more about the testing of cosmetic wound care products and access our on-demand webinar 'Wounds and wound healing properties'.

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