Skin grafts

Skin grafts

Skin grafting is a surgical procedure that involves removing skin from one area of the body and transplanting it to a different area of the body. This surgery may be done if a part of the body has lost its protective covering of skin due to burns, injury or illness. There are two basic types of skin grafts: split-thickness and full-thickness grafts.

A split-thickness graft involves removing the top layer of the skin as well as a portion of the deeper layer of the skin. Such grafts are usually harvested from the front or outer thigh, abdomen, buttocks or back. A full-thickness graft involves removing all of the epidermis and dermis from the donor site. These are usually taken from the abdomen, groin or forearm. Full-thickness grafts are generally used for small wounds on highly visible parts of the body, such as the face.

How is it performed?

  • Before the start of the surgery, the patient is given general anaesthesia.
  • The surgeon begins by removing skin from the donor site.
  • Once skin is removed, the surgeon carefully places it over the transplant area and secures it with a surgical dressing, staples or stitches.
  • The doctor also covers the donor area with a dressing that will cover the wound without sticking to it.
  • Post surgery, the patient’s vital signs are monitored and pain medication is given. The patient may be required to stay in the hospital for a few days to ensure proper healing.
  • The graft should start developing blood vessels and connecting to the skin around it within 36 hours. The donor site will heal within one to two weeks, but the graft site will take a bit longer to heal.

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