AIM The aim of this study was to test whether or not a collagen matrix can improve early wound healing compared to spontaneous healing based on histological and immunohistologic analyses. METHODS In 20 volunteers, 6 mm punch biopsies were harvested at the palate. A xenogeneic collagen matrix (XCM) was sutured in one site; the other one was left untreated (control). Biopsies with a diameter of 8 mm were subsequently obtained at 4, 8, 15 and 29 days and histological and immunohistologic analyses were performed. RESULTS At day 4, wound bed keratinization amounted to 12.4 ± 7.5% (control) and 18.0 ± 10.2% (XCM). This increased up to day 8 (19.7 ± 25.5% control; 29.1 ± 8.0% XCM) and reached complete keratinization at day 15 in both groups. The quantitative analyses of the superficial compartment measured an increase in the amount of granulation tissue (32-88% control; 14-41% XCM) from day 4 to day 8. Angiogenesis was first detected at 8 days. At day 29, the amount of connective tissue in all compartments reached values similar to the native tissue at baseline. CONCLUSIONS The application of a XCM as a wound dressing on palatal wounds might be beneficial in the early stages of wound healing. Further research with a larger sample size is needed to confirm these results.