Skin Graft


A skin graft surgery is the removal and transplantation of healthy skin from one area of the body to another area. It is done to replace the skin in an area where the skin has been severely damaged. The source (donor site) most commonly used for skin grafts include the lateral thigh, buttocks, below the collarbone, in front of and behind the ear, and the upper arm.The use of your own skin as the source area is called an autograft. If there is not enough skin on the body to provide graft coverage, skin may be harvested from outside sources. These alternate sources are only meant for temporary use until your own skin grows back. Three common options are:
  1. Allograft—skin taken from another human source, such as a cadaver
  2. Xenograft—skin taken from an animal source
  3. Synthetic tissue

Reasons for Procedure

Skin grafts are done to:
  • Promote healing of:
  • Reconstruct skin removed during surgery, such as following skin cancer or tumor removal, or for a serious skin infection
A successful skin graft will result in transplanted skin adhering and growing into the recipient area. Cosmetic results may vary, based on factors such as the type of skin graft used and the recipient site.

Possible Complications

Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems, like:
  • Bleeding
  • Graft failure
  • Infection at either the donor or recipient site
  • Poor healing
  • Increased or decreased sensation at the recipient site
  • Hair may not grow on recipient site
  • Graft tissue contracts, interfering with limb movement
  • Scarring
  • A collection of blood outside of a vessel, known as a hematoma
  • Differences in skin coloration
Factors that may increase the risk of complications include:
  • Age—newborns, infants, or adults aged 60 years and older
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Poor overall health
  • Use of certain medications

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