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Overview

Skin grafting is a surgical procedure that removes and transplants healthy skin from one area of the body to another area. If any part of your body has lost its protective covering of skin owing to burns, injury, or illness, Skin grafting surgery may be performed. Commonly, the source sites used for skin grafts are the buttocks, inner thigh, below the collarbone, in front of and behind the ear, and the upper arm. Additionally, this takes the two top layers of skin from the donor site (the epidermis) and the layer under the epidermis (the dermis). It is primarily used to treat burns and ulcers, as well as in reconstructive surgeries. 

Types of Skin Grafts

There are three main types of skin graft surgery:

Full-thickness graft: This technique is removal and transfer of an entire area of damaged skin. Full-thickness grafts are mainly recommended for areas where cosmetic appearance is essential, such as the face. 

Split-thickness graft: This technique is applied when your surgeon removes the top layer of skin and part of the middle layer. This type of transplant allows the source site to heal more rapidly.

Composite grafts: This involves combination of skin and fat, skin and cartilage, or the middle layer of skin and fat. It is usually used in areas that need three-dimensionality, such as the nose

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Overview

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Treatment

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Skin Transplant Procedure

Your surgeon will begin the procedure by removing skin from the donor site. The skin will be removed from an area of your body in case you’re getting a split-thickness graft or transplant that’s mainly hidden by clothing, such as your hip or the outside of your thigh. When you’re getting a full-thickness graft, selected donor sites are the groin, abdomen, forearm, or area above the clavicle or collarbone.

After skin is removed from the donor site, the surgeon will carefully place it over the graft area and protected it with a surgical dressing, staples, or stitches. It may be meshed, if it’s a split-thickness graft. The surgeon may possibly punch several holes in the transplant to stretch out the piece of skin so that he or she may harvest less skin from your surgeon site. Moreover, this allows fluid to drain from under the skin transplant. Fluid collection under the transplant may reason to fail it. In long term outlook, meshing may cause the skin graft to take a fish-net appearance. The surgeon also protects the donor area with a dressing that will cover the wound without sticking to it.

Frequently Asked Question

From one area of a person's body, the healthy skin is commonly removed and transplanted to the damaged area, though skin from a donor can be used in several cases.

A skin transplant is the removal and transplantation of healthy skin from one area of the body to another area. Your surgeon will perform a skin transplant to replace the skin in an area where the skin has been severely damaged.

Skin transplant are operated in a hospital. Mostly, skin grafts are done using general anesthesia, which means you'll be asleep throughout the procedure and won't feel any pain.

The surgery usually takes 1 to 3 hours. You may stay one or more nights in the hospital, if the graft is a large area.

When patients are first hospitalized, about one-third of burn survivors have severe distress about changes in the way their body looks, feels, and works. Nearly everyone has ups and downs as they heal. But mostly children and adults get used to the change in their appearance over time.

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