The Ewha Medical Journal
Ewha Womans University School of Medicine
Original Article

A Study on Expansibility and Morphological Changes of Human Epidermis Induced by Negative Pressure

Min Jae Lee, Hyung-Chul Kang

Copyright ⓒ 1996. Ewha Womans University School of Medicine. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Published Online: Jul 24, 2015


Recently, autologous epidermal graft using suction-blister has been used in the treatment of depigmented diseases. The suction-blister is produced by separation of epidermis from dermis by negative pressure, and the separated epidermis is a good source for studying the properties of the epidermis itself.

In this day, we measured the pre-expanded control diameter and post-expanded diameter induced by negative pressure in the anterior chest and abdomen of patients and calculated the expansibility of epidermis from the measurements, and studied the morphological changes of the expanded epidermis using scanning electron microscope and transmission electron microscope.

As a result, the diameter of epidermis was elongated 46.4%, from a mean of 7.6mm to 11. 0mm and the calculated area was expanded 115.0%, from a mean of 45.0mm2 to 95.9mm2 by suction. Both were statistically significant(p<0.05). And morphologically, the thickness of epidermis was markedly decreased and the basal keratinocytes, their nuclei and intercellular bridges were elongated parallel to the skin surface, and paranuclear vacuolization was observed in keratinocytes and melanocytes.

In conclusion, above results are helpful in understanding the physical property and structure of epidermis and can be used for estimating the exact size of the donor skin needed for epidermal graft.

Keywords: Expansibility; Morphological change; Epidermis; Negative pressure