The burden of treating chronic wounds is growing rapidly due to increasing healthcare costs, an ageing population and a sharp rise in the incidence of diabetes and obesity worldwide.

Chronic wounds can persist for years and may never heal, resulting in high total treatment costs and serious health risks, including limb and life-threatening infections and even death. As a result, there is substantial demand for advanced wound-healing products that accelerate healing and discourage wound recurrence.

Tissue-engineered skin substitutes (TESS) are scaffolds that can be either biological or synthetic, and either acellular or cellular. They often contain biological compounds or growth factors that help to stimulate the body’s natural healing response.

These products supplement or replace damaged skin by providing a platform for new tissue growth. They have shown decreased rates of infection, enhanced cosmetic outcomes and long-lasting results compared to traditional healing approaches, such as gauze dressings and donor skin grafts. The products not only supplement the growing deficiency in donor-supplied skin grafts, but also provide healing benefits that improve short and long-term outcomes for patients.

TESS have widespread uses in wound care for treating skin defects and injuries, and are advantageous for use in serious or chronic injury where the skin’s natural ability to heal may be disrupted, including burns cases, diabetic foot ulcers, leg ulcers and pressure ulcers.

GlobalData predicts that sales of TESS will increase from $2 billion in 2023 to $3 billion by 2033, with acellular skin substitutes composing 62% of the market. GlobalData attributes this market growth to the increasing prevalence of injuries and chronic diseases globally, as well as to the higher adoption of technologically advanced healthcare practices like regenerative and personalised medicine.

The TESS market is highly competitive and includes numerous players of diverse sizes due to the unique features, benefits and applications of each product. Key players include Allergan, Integra LifeSciences, MiMedx, Organogenesis and Smith & Nephew. There is a huge investment in research and development in this space, and continuous product launches as companies attempt to identify a product that could propel them ahead of the competition.

However, no single company has yet to establish a dominant market position in this space, resulting in a highly fragmented market. This fragmentation will most likely continue in the coming years as new technologies emerge and even more companies enter the market.