Skin grafting or skin transplant is a medical procedure that involves the transplantation of skin. The transplanted tissue is called a skin graft. The procedure comprises removing the skin from one part of the body and transplanting it to another part in the body.
A skin graft is done when an individual has lost the protective covering of skin due to an injury, burns, or illness. It is commonly used to treat extensive skin loss due to skin cancers or infections such as necrotizing fasciitis or purpura fulminans.
The part of the body from where the skin will be taken is known as the donor site, which is mostly the buttocks and thighs. The healthy skin from the donor site is placed into the wounded area so a to reduce the long-term treatments and to improve the appearance and function of the area being treated. The surgery will be done in a hospital, using general anesthesia so that the person undergoing the procedure does not feel any pain or discomfort.
Types Of Skin Graft
The three basic types of medical procedures are categorized in accordance with the nature and thickness of the skin removed. However, before getting to know about the different types of skin grafting, it is necessary to gather knowledge on the common types of skin grafts. That is the donor site from where the skin has been extracted from and an individual’s experience with skin grafting is asserted to be varied, depending on the type of graft received.
- Autograft: It is also known as an autologous graft, in which the donor skin comes from a different site on the individual’s body. It is considered to be the most successful due to the genetic match in the skin.
- Allogeneic graft: The skin will be taken from another person.
- Isogeneic graft: The recipient and the donor will be genetically identical (identical twins).
- Xenograft: Also termed as xenogeneic, the donor and the recipient will be of different species. Mostly for this, pigs are used and the grafts are temporary.
- Laboratory-grown: Under this one, the skin cells will be taken the patient or the donor, so as to grow new skin (in a laboratory setting).
- Prosthetic: The procedure will be done using prosthetic implants, that is, synthetic materials such as metal, plastic, or ceramic.
Further, the medical procedure is classified by the thickness and the nature of the skin that has been removed. And depending upon the size as well as the location of the wound, the types of the graft to be received is determined.
And the three major types of skin grafting procedure are as follows
Also termed as STSG or split-thickness skin graft, this procedure involves the epidermis and part of the dermis; and removing the top layer of the skin. The grafts extracted are further categorized as thin, intermediate, or thick based on the thickness of the dermis taken for grafting.
The skin can be stretched out nine times more than its original size, and the stretching is done by making it into a mesh. It is made processed into a mesh using a skin mesher, which will allow the skin to cover large areas.
STSG tends to contract over time, making the area of surgery look a little odd. Hence, it is usually used for larger areas and is avoided when it comes to joints and other places because the contraction of the skin can cause hindrance in ease of movement.
This procedure involves removing the entire thickness of the dermis and epidermis from the donor site. In comparison to STSG, full-thickness is less painful to have a more natural and aesthetically pleasing end-result. It is used for smaller areas such as hands or face, in line with cosmetic concerns. These blend well with the skin and has a better outcome than other methods. This is done when there is plenty of tissue loss such as an open fracture.
Under this one, skin and underlying cartilage from the donor site will be used. For example, a graft from the ear will be used to treat the nose. The cartilage under the skin is to add form during the process.