Through a skin graft, healthy skin from one part of the body may be transferred to another area to conceal damaged skin or replace lost tissue. Thrive Reconstructive Surgery performs even the most complex skin grafts, providing full reconstructive surgery and rehabilitation to patients who have suffered major burns, injuries, or post-surgical complications.
What is a Skin Graft?
A skin graft is simply a patch of healthy skin that is removed from the body and then surgically attached to the area requiring treatment.
Depending on the severity of the pathology, it may sometimes be necessary to get a full-thickness skin graft. In most cases, however, only the top two layers of the skin are needed for the transplant.
Once the new skin is attached to the donor site, well-padded surgical dressings are used to hold it in place, ensuring that it heals properly and blends seamlessly with the surrounding skin. Ultimately, the goal is to replace tissue that has been compromised due to a traumatic injury, burn, or surgical complication; or, to conceal skin that has become irreparably scarred or damaged on its surface.
Types of Skin Grafts
The two basic types of skin grafts include split thickness and full thickness.
For more minor cosmetic needs, a split-thickness skin graft is usually more than sufficient. In this procedure, only the top two layers of the skin (the epidermis and the dermis) are transplanted. These grafts are most commonly harvested from body parts such as the thigh, buttocks, or back.
More extreme needs may call for a full-thickness graft, wherein an entire section of skin is removed and transplanted in all of its layers. This is typically a much more complex procedure, usually needed to replace lost tissue in the abdomen or to address significant wounds in highly visible areas of the body.
Who is a Candidate for a Skin Graft?
At Thrive Reconstructive Surgery, our surgeons are experienced in handling all types of skin graft, including those that come with higher levels of complexity. We often recommend skin grafts for patients who meet any of the following criteria:
- You have a significant skin infection.
- Your skin has been badly burned.
- You have large, open wounds.
- You have lost or damaged tissue due to surgical complications.
- Your skin has been damaged due to treatment for skin cancer.
To learn more about whether you are an eligible candidate for a healthy and effective skin graft procedure, we recommend scheduling a consultation with Thrive Reconstructive Surgery.
Meet Your Skin Graft Doctors
Thrive Reconstructive Surgery is a team of problem solvers—seasoned reconstructive surgeons with a knack for tackling complex problems, and developing effective clinical solutions for even the most advanced pathologies. Our surgeons boast years of experience performing skin grafts for patients throughout Texas, offering them full rehabilitation following major wounds, injuries, and infections. We invite you to contact us to set up a consultation, where we will be happy to tell you more about our unparalleled track record in performing skin grafts.
Skin grafts are performed under general anesthesia. They begin with your surgeon carefully removing a section of skin from the donor site. Once the skin has been successfully removed, it is placed on top of the donor site. It may adhere into place with surgical dressings, stitches, or staples.
In some cases, the graft may be “meshed,” which means the surgeon will punch holes in it to stretch it out. This allows the surgeon to harvest a smaller section of skin from the host site and also ensures the easy drainage of fluids from the treated area.
Healing After Your Skin Graft
Depending on the nature of your skin graft, you may be required to stay at the hospital for a day or two for observation. It is important for your surgeon to ensure that the graft is healing properly, developing blood vessels, and connecting to the skin surrounding it. This usually happens within the first 36 hours or so.
If this does not happen, and if the body rejects the graft, it may be necessary to have a follow-up procedure, allowing a second graft to be used.
Once you are discharged from the hospital, painkillers may be used to minimize discomfort; your surgeon will provide a prescription. You will also receive instructions on caring for your wounds as they heal. Usually, it takes three to four weeks before patients are cleared to resume their normal physical activities, including strenuous exercise.
Find Out More About Skin Grafts
A skin graft can often be the best, most permanent solution for major injuries and serious burns. Thrive Reconstructive Surgery has an incomparable track record of success performing skin grafts of all types and all levels of complexity.
To learn more about your skin graft options, connect with Thrive Reconstructive Surgery and schedule a consultation.