Doctors using fish scales to treat burn victims

(NBC) - Doctors in South American have discovered a new way to help people with severe burns. It's cheap, effective and innovative, but kinda icky.

Doctors are using Tilapia from fish farms. According to Dr. Edmar Maciel, "Tilapia skin has a great quantity of type 1 collagen, which is important for healing."

The skin is sterilized and then applied as bandages on second and third-degree burns. The scales are full of moisture, helps fight infection and can usually stay on until the wound heals; unlike regular bandages that must be changed daily.

At this time, there is no obvious use for tilapia skin in the United States. There is currently a good supply of human donor skin. But the new method is more likely to be used in developing countries like Brazil.

According to Professor Ororico de Morias, "In the production of tilapia, the skin is thrown away. We are using this product to convert it into something of social benefit."

Doctors say the skin also speeds up healing time and is much less expensive than conventional treatments.