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A laser dermatome is disclosed for harvesting and meshing grafts of skin. A roller driven by a motor lifts the leading edge of a portion of skin for cutting by a beam of light generated by a laser. Adhesive tape attached to the roller aids in lifting the portion of skin and is further utilized to secure the severed portion of skin to the roller. A stage mounted atop an axle supports the laser or a beam director. The movement of the stage is controlled by second and third motors which drive the stage along or rotate it about the axle providing directional control of the laser. A controller controls the motors and synchronizes the movements of the roller and stage dependent upon inputs from the operator and sensors during operation. In the related method, a portion of skin to be harvested is lifted by the roller and cut by the laser beam. The controller signals the motor to drive the roller, thereby lifting the severed portion of skin and exposing the next portion for further cutting by the laser. These steps are repeated until the desired size graft is obtained. The laser is secondarily utilized to perform the additional step of meshing the graft in order to allow expansion of the graft to cover a larger area.


University of Kentucky Research Foundation, Lexington, Ky.

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