Skin Graft Healing And After Care
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What Is A Skin Graft?
A skin graft is a procedure that takes a piece of skin from one area of the body and transplants it, or attaches it to another. It’s often a treatment performed when skin is lost due to infection, burns, ulcers and large wounds.
Skin grafts are done by removing healthy skin from one site on the body, this is called the “donor site,” and putting skin in another area, by transplantation. Most skin grafts involve the top two layers of skin, called the “epidermis”, and the layer of skin underneath, called the “dermis” – this is referred to as a “split-thickness” skin graft. In cases of very deep tissue loss, a full-thickness skin graft may be required. This type of graft will take the full thickness of skin from the donor site and apply it to the new site – not just the top layers.
How is a Skin Flap different from a skin graft?
A skin flap and skin graft both serve the same purpose. Here’s the difference: A skin flap uses a piece of skin that’s still attached. With a skin graft, the skin is completely removed from the donor spot. A skin flap also allows the skin to keep its original blood supply.
Skin graft healing and aftercare
Once your surgery is done, your doctor will provide you with aftercare instructions to help speed up the wound healing. The skin graft should always be kept clean and dry and you should avoid direct sunlight exposure on the graft area – unless your doctor says otherwize. It’s also likely that your doctor will require you to pause any activities that may stretch the graft site for the next month.
Additional instructions for skin graft aftercare
- Make sure to keep the area clean.
- Don’t remove the bandages on your skin graft or donor site until your doctor instructs you to.
- Take any pain medication you’ve been prescribed, as instructed.
- Follow up on all of your appointments
Compromised Skin Grafts
Healing from skin grafts and skin flaps has a very high success rate, as long as aftercare is done properly. However, if these wounds don’t receive good oxygen and blood flow, they could become compromised. A number of different factors can contribute to oxygen and blood flow issues, they include diabetes, damage from radiation and even infection. Additionally, a seroma or hematoma may form near the graft; this will also cause the graft to become compromised. In this case, rapid treatment is crucial. If treatment is put off, the graft could die and will need to be replaced.
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What does a failed skin graft look like?
When a skin graft fails or is compromised, the patient usually experiences continuous pain, numbness, swelling and fever. They may also look and see that the area is discolored or red and that the tissue is breaking down. Another sign is that the skin graft has become dark and doesn’t look like healthy skin anymore. You can tell if the skin is dying by pressing down on it with your pointer finger, if the skin doesn’t return to a normal color after you release your finger, call your doctor.
Contact Us Today For Skin Graft Treatment In Orange County, CA
Dr. Faried Banimahd is a board-certified physician specializing in emergency medicine, wound care, and pain management. Our team will work with you to create an individualized treatment plan that meets your needs and unique conditions. Our clinic includes highly trained and experienced physicians, registered nurses, and certified medical staff who work together to provide you with the highest standards of wound care treatments.