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Skin Grafts

-Skin grafts are layers of skin which are taken from a suitable donor area of a patient and transplanted to a recipient area of damaged skin.

Skin grafts can either be split thickness, a very thin layer or part of the skin, or full thickness layers which include all the layers of skin.

Thinner grafts survive transplantation more readily and are more successful. They are used for heavily contaminated surfaces, burn areas and surfaces with a poor blood supply. However, they are least like normal skin with loss of suppleness, hair does not tend to grow on them and their final appearance can be a disappointment.

Full thickness grafts are more pleasing to the eye, look more like skin and can withstand a greater amount of trauma once they are successfully implanted. Meshed grafts allow for a greater degree of covering because the original graft is rolled under a perforating machine and the perforations produced allow for expansion thus increasing the surface area of the graft .

Skin grafting is used to replace skin cover. It is used in the treatment of extensive burn areas of skin, varicose ulcers and after surgical excision of skin cancers including malignant melanomas. Infection and lack of a satisfactory blood supply prevent grafts from surviving.

A local skinflap is used when the blood supply is poor and it is thought that the area to be grafted will not allow a successful free skin graft.

Two areas such as the legs are brought into close proximity and held together by a plaster cast. A flap of skin can be partially removed from the donor area on one leg and transferred over to the recipient area on the other leg. It still retains its blood supply from its connection through the flap with the donor area. This is retained until the graft has taken. It is then fully disconnected from the donor area and the flap adjusted and secured to cover the total recipient area.

There are many variations of skin flaps which use techniques to maintain a blood supply whilst a potential graft is establishing itself.

- Breasts - Ears and Nose
- Face Lifts - Skin Grafts

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