Skin Grafting

A skin graft is a procedure to heal large wounds that cannot heal through normal skin growth. Skin grafts may be recommended for the following:

  • very large wounds
  • Burns
  • Venous ulcers, pressure ulcers, or diabetic ulcers which do not heal

During a skin graft a patch of skin is removed from one part of the body called the "donor site" and transplanted to another area. The donor site is usually a part of the body that has a layer of fat beneath and is hidden by clothes, such as the buttock or inner thigh.

Skin grafts are usually performed under reginal or general anesthesia.

The graft is held in place in its new position either with a sterile dressing that applies gentle pressure, or by staples or stitches. The donor-site area is covered with a sterile dressing for 3 to 5 days.

In most cases, a "split-thickness graft" is performed that removes the 2 top layers of skin, the epidermis and epidermis.

In cases where there is deep tissue loss, a "full-thickness skin graft" may be performed. This takes the entire thickness of the skin, including the layer of fat, muscle and blood vessels. below the dermis. This is a more complicated procedure.

Most skin grafts are successful, but some do not heal well and a second graft may be necessary.

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Last updated: 5/14/2020