Skin Graft

March 8, 2010

It is a surgical procedure which involves the placement of a piece of healthy skin in areas where the skin is damaged. It is usually done in an operating room under local or general anesthesia depending on the size of the graft.

Skin grafts can be classified into:

  1. Autografts: where the skin for the graft is taken from the same person.
  2. Allograft: where the skin for the graft is taken from another person.
  3. Xenograft: where the skin for the graft is taken from animals (usually pigs).
A skin graft can be partial thickness where the first two layers of skin are taken, or full thickness skin grafts where the entire thickness of skin is taken which is done in patients with deeper tissue loss.
  • The area where the healthy skin is taken from is called the donor site.
  • The donor site can be any area of the body; it is usually in areas hidden by clothes like the inner thigh.
  • The area which receives the healthy skin is called the recipient site (the graft site).
The donor site will be covered with a dressing for the first one to two weeks. It usually heals within 10-14 days. Lotion is applied to the donor site after the dressing comes off.


For the recipient site (graft site) the dressing is left in place for two to five days before it is changed. The area is very fragile and great care should be taken to ensure that it is protected from trauma and heavy stretching for two to three weeks.

Complications:

  1. Infection.
  2. Bleeding.
  3. Graft failure.
  4. Graft rejection.
  5. Scarring.
  6. Skin discoloration.
  7. Chronic pain.
  8. Change in the sensitivity of skin.
Future care:

It is important to take care of the graft area by protecting it from excessive sun exposure, protect it from dryness (use ointment or creams after consulting with your doctor).


This information is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice; it should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Call 911 for all medical emergencies.

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