Major issues faced with the use of today's skin grafts are infection, scar tissue formation, insufficient keratinocyte (or skin producing cells) proliferation and high production costs. To overcome these limitations, we propose here for the first time, a nanofeatured poly(lactide-co-glycolide) (PLGA) membrane as a next generation antibacterial skin graft material. An alkaline surface treatment method was used to create random nanofeatures on PLGA membranes where sodium hydroxide (NaOH) concentration and exposure times were altered to control surface morphology. Most significantly, and without the use of antibiotics, results showed a decrease in Staphylococcus aureus (a dangerous pathogen infecting skin grafts) growth for up to approximate to 40% after 2 days of culture on nanofeatured PLGA membranes compared to untreated controls. Results also showed that while bacteria growth was stunted, mammalian cell growth was not. Specifically, cell culture results showed an increase in human epidermal keratinocyte density, while the density of scar tissue forming human dermal fibroblasts, did not change on nanofeatured PLGA surfaces compared to the untreated controls after 3 days of culture. These findings indicate that the alkaline treatment of PLGA membranes is a promising quick and effective manner to limit scar tissue formation and bacterial invasion while increasing skin cell proliferation for improving numerous wound-healing applications. (c) 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Biomed Mater Res Part A: 102A: 4598-4608, 2014.