Skin Graft Surgery
Plastic Surgery For Burn Victims in Cyprus, Greece and Malta
The consequences of a burn injury can be disastrous for patients. Apart from cosmetic concerns, burns can also cause severe functional impairments to burn victims.
The immediate and accurate burn treatment is critical and typically involves surgical treatments and the right type of wound dressing after the surgery.
What Is Skin Graft Surgery?
Burn injury is a multifactorial disease that requires immediate treatment to avoid possible complications in the future.
Doctors specialized in reconstructive plastic surgery can perform burn defect reconstruction using skin transplant (skin graft), local flaps or tissue expanders, depending on the extent and complexity of the burn injury.
A skin graft is a part of skin removed from an unaffected, healthy body area and transplanted or attached to the burned area to cover the defect. The reason the skin graft is taken from the patient’s own body is to eliminate the risk of transplant rejection.
The most common body sites to take skin grafts are the inner thigh and buttocks, where scars are not easily visible.
What Does Skin Graft Plastic Surgery Involve?
Step 1: Anesthesia
The first procedural step is general anesthesia performed by a certified anesthesiologist.
Step 2: Split-Thickness & Full-Thickness Skin Graft
The plastic surgeon takes healthy tissue from another body area called the donor site. There are many types of skin grafting, such as allograft, mesh graft, autograft, sheet grafts or split thickness autograft (STAG). Some of them are temporary, while others are permanent. The two most common permanent procedures of skin grafting are the below:
- Split-Thickness Skin Graft
The plastic surgeon removes two top skin layers from the epidermis of the donor site, as well as the layer under the epidermis – the dermis.
- Full-Thickness Skin Graft
This skin grafting type is a more complex procedure that requires removal of the whole thickness of skin from the donor site, not only the top two layers. Ideal donor sites for full-thickness skin grafts are the abdominal, back, neck, and chest.
Step 3: Skin Graft Placement
The surgeon transplants the graft on the burned area and sutures it, or staples it, or covers it with a well-padded dressing to hold it in place. A sterile dressing covers the donor site for up to five days.
Recovery After Skin Graft Surgery
Reconstructive plastic surgery for burn victims requires either local or general anesthesia, depending on the type of the procedure. Treatment might need more than one stage to be complete.
Recovery also depends on the extent of the burn injury and the complexity of plastic surgery. For example, patients tend to recover faster after split-thickness skin grafting than full-thickness grafting. Patients who underwent full-thickness skin grafting may need to stay in the hospital for recovery. Light activities can start the next day after split-thickness grafting surgery.
Most patients need to wear a dressing that protects the trauma for a couple of weeks. They should also avoid doing any exercise that can injure or dislodge the skin graft.
Skincare and sun protection are necessary during the healing period.
What our patients say!
Where Will Skin Grafting for Burns Take Place?
Dr. Stavrou performs reconstructive plastic surgery for burn victims in accredited medical centers in Cyprus (Nicosia and Limassol), Greece (Athens) and Malta (Sliema).
The procedure takes place in a safe and sterile operation room. The surgeon uses the most advanced medical equipment for reconstructive plastic surgery. The staff involved is thoroughly trained and specialized in reconstructive procedures. Dr. Stavrou wants to ensure a safe, well-controlled and comfortable surgical experience for all of his patients.
After the procedure, the patient is transferred to the recovery suite and is closely monitored by the medical staff.
The European Institute of Plastic Surgery (EIPS) offers exceptional health care and meets the high standards of safety and care set by European laws. EIPS clinics provide individualized health care in an exclusive and luxurious environment.
FAQs for Burn Surgery
How long does skin graft surgery take?
The duration of skin graft surgery depends on the type of the procedure and the extent of the burn injury.
Split-thickness skin grafting might take less than an hour, but full-thickness grafting lasts longer and may also require spending one or more nights at the hospital.
Is skin graft a major surgery?
Indeed, skin graft surgery is a major procedure with potential risks and complications.
It should only be performed by skilled, experienced, board-certified reconstructive plastic surgeons.
Patients can lower the risk of complications by precisely following their surgeon’s post-operative instructions.
Is a skin graft painful?
Patients do not feel any pain during the skin graft surgery as they have received local or general anesthesia.
Pain and discomfort are natural after the surgery, but they can be fully controlled with pain medication prescribed by your doctor.
Do skin grafts leave scars?
Yes, skin grafting leaves two scars: the scar from the donor site and the scar where the skin graft has been transplanted.
If the donor site was the buttocks or inner thigh, scarring in these areas will be hardly noticeable.
An experienced plastic surgeon can minimize the look of scars and ensure a safe burn surgery.
Which type of burn injury requires skin grafting?
Second and third-degree burn injuries and full-thickness burns require skin graft surgery to replace scarred tissue and help the skin heal.
Second-degree burns affect the outermost layer of the skin, the epidermis, while third-degree burns can also damage muscles, tendons, nerve endings and bones. In these cases, skin grafts can be transplanted into the injured areas over the surgically-cleaned wound to help it heal.
A first-degree or superficial burn may heal naturally, but that depends on the patient’s overall medical condition.
What is skin grafting used for?
Skin grafting can be used in the following cases:
- Burn injuries
- For cosmetic reasons in areas where the skin was damaged
- Infections that cause skin loss
- Large wounds
- Skin cancer treatment
- Venous, pressure or diabetic ulcers difficult to heal
Are skin grafts an outpatient procedure?
Patients who had split-thickness grafting surgery can leave the hospital on the same day.
However, full-thickness skin grafting may require patients to stay in the hospital for recovery. That depends on the extent and complexity of the skin grafting.