Mechanical properties and collagen structure of excisional wounds left open are compared with wounds closed by clips. In both wound models, collagen fiber diameter increases with time post-wounding and is related to tensile strength. Clipped wounds show a higher ultimate tensile strength and tangent modulus compared with open wounds. In clipped wounds, newly deposited collagen appears as a biaxially oriented network as observed in normal skin. In open wounds a delay in the organization of the collagen network is observed and parallel wavy-shaped ribbons of collagen fibers are deposited. At long term, the high extensibility observed in open wounds may be due to the sliding of ribbons of collagen fibers past each other.

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