Skin Grafting is a surgical procedure that involves removing skin from one part of the body and then moving or transplanting it to another part of the body. If part of your body has lost its protective skin coverage due to burns, injuries, or illness, this surgery can be performed. The skin transplant is performed in the hospital. Most skin grafts are done under general anesthesia, which means you will fall asleep during the whole process without any pain.
Place the skin graft on the area of the body where the skin has been lost. Common reasons for skin grafting include:
There are two basic types of skin grafts: split-thickness grafts and full-thickness grafts. The surgeon will begin the operation by removing the skin from the donor site. If you are going for a thick skin graft, the skin will be removed from areas of the body that are usually covered by clothing, such as the buttocks or outer thighs. If you want a full-thickness graft, the preferred donor site is the abdomen, groin, forearm, or the area above the clavicle.
After removing the skin from the donor site, the surgeon will carefully place it on the graft area and secure it with surgical dressings, staples, or sutures. If it is split grafting, it may be "reticulated” depending on the extent of skin graft needed. The doctor may make multiple holes in the graft to pull apart the skin patch, so he or she may reduce the skin on the donor site. The collection of fluid under the graft may cause failure. In the long term, meshing may cause the skin graft to take on a "fishnet-like" appearance.
The doctor also covers the donor area with a dressing, which will cover the wound without sticking to the wound.
If you have a graft of uneven thickness, may want you to stay in the hospital for a few days to ensure that the graft and donor site are well recovered.
The graft should start forming blood vessels and connect to the surrounding skin within 36 hours. If these blood vessels do not start to form soon after the operation, it may indicate that your body is rejecting the graft.
You may hear the doctor say that the graft was "not taken". This can happen for a variety of reasons, including infection, accumulation of fluid or blood under the graft, or excessive movement of the graft over the wound. This can also happen if you smoke or if the blood does not flow to the transplanted area. If the first transplant is not needed, you may need another operation and a new transplant.