Skin grafting is a type of surgery which transplants a section of the skin using a natural or a synthetic form of skin. The skin that is used in covering a skin defect is known as the ‘skin graft’ and could originate from another healthy site of the same person, a different person, an animal or else as a synthetic material. The originating site of the skin graft will be known as the ‘donor site’ and the defective site which received the skin will be known as the ‘recipient site’.
What are the indications for skin grafting?
There can be many indications to perform a skin graft and following are some of the main reasons in usual surgical practice.
To reduce the time taken in healing the wound To reduce the potential to be infected To improve the cosmetic appearance of a wound When the defect is too large to be healed by it self When the skin is badly damaged due to injury
The technique is often used following burns, accidents as well as managing extensive skin damage following localized infections.
What are the main types of skin grafting?
There are two types of skin grafts being described and one of which is a partial thickness skin graft. The graft will contain the epidermis as well as part of the dermis and is used in grafting small defects as well as areas where the cosmetic appearance is not a major issue.
Full thickness skin grafts will contain the entire epidermis and the dermis and will contain the glands which are associated with the dermis as well. It’s being widely used to graft large defects as well as defects which need to be repaired for better cosmetic appearance.
How the procedure is performed?
In performing the surgery, the plastic surgeons will make use of an instrument called the ‘dermatome’ to obtain the skin graft and the thin slice of skin will be placed over the skin defect at the recipient site. The graft will be anchored using few stitches or even by surgical staples and should not be exposed to stretching or any sort of pressure for few weeks.
How successful is skin grafting?
It should be remembered that not all skin grafts will survive for few weeks and this could be the result of infection, bleeding or even rejection from the body in case of synthetic grafts or grafts received from other humans and animals. Thus, it may be necessary for the patient to undergo several skin grafts in order to heal the wound better.