What Is Skin Grafting?

If you suffer a serious burn, chances are good that you might need a skin graft while you heal. These grafts are surgical procedures done under anesthesia. Below is some information for those undergoing skin grafts should know.

The doctor must first select the donor site on the patient’s body where healthy skin will be excised and applied to the burned area. Once the site is chosen, all burned and damaged tissue is removed from the burned area.

The next step involves harvesting healthy skin from the pre-selected donor site. It is then laid over the wound and secured. The graft should remain undisturbed for five days after being placed to allow blood vessels to knit the layers of donor skin and burned area together.

Sometimes a graft isn’t meant to be permanent, just needed to temporarily cover a wound. Cadaver skin can serve this purpose before an autograft is anchored in place. Some grafts come from animals, usually pigs. This is likely when there is little cadaver skin available for use.

It takes more autograft skin removed from a burn victim’s undamaged body areas to cover the wound because skin shrinks slightly after it’s harvested. Sometimes there is not enough skin to do sheet grafts everywhere.

In those cases, a meshed skin graft can be used on large open wounds. A donor’s skin is processed through machines that perforate and extend its surface area. It winds up looking a lot like fishnet material until the spaces fill with new skin growth.

As one can imagine, the skin grafting process can be tedious, painful and grueling for patients to endure. If you were burned in an accident, you have the right to seek compensation for your medical bills, pain and suffering and other damages from the person or entity responsible for your injuries.

Source: Regions Hospital, “Skin grafting,” accessed March 25, 2016
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