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Treatment: Skin Grafting

Skin grafting involves using a section of normal skin from one part of the body (the donor site) to cover another site where the skin has been lost as a result of an injury, such as a burn, or a disorder, such as an ulcer. There are several different methods of skin grafting. The two examples shown here use small donor sites to cover large areas of missing skin.

Meshed graft

A meshed graft is used when a very large area of missing skin needs to be covered and donor sites are limited. The donor skin is removed and made into a mesh using angled cuts. The meshed graft can then be stretched to cover the large area of missing skin.

Taking the donor skin

A very thin slice of skin is shaved off the donor site. A sufficient number of cells are left at the base of the epidermis to allow the skin to regrow over the wound.

Positioning the meshed graft

The donor skin is cut and stretched to form a mesh that fits in the larger recipient site. Once in place, new skin grows to fill the spaces around the mesh.

Pinch grafts

Pinch grafts are very small pieces of skin that are often used to help skin ulcers to heal. Multiple small grafts are pinched up and removed from the donor site. The pinch grafts are then placed over the larger area of missing skin and grow to cover the area.

Taking the pinch grafts

Small sections of skin are pinched up at the donor site and cut using scissors or a scalpel. The donor site can heal because the removed sections are small.

Positioning the pinch grafts

Multiple small pinch grafts are placed on the recipient site. The grafts will gradually grow outwards to form a new sheet of healthy skin in about 10–14 days.

From the 2010 revision of the Complete Home Medical Guide © Dorling Kindersley Limited.

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