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Skin grafts are a reconstructive plastic surgery technique available for a number of purposes. Skin grafts may be recommended for burn victims, patients with extensive wounds, specific surgery patients that require skin grafts for healing, areas of skin loss due to previous infection, and patients going through a series of reconstructive surgeries. Skin grafts are the surgical process through which the damaged or missing skin of scars or non-healing wounds is replaced with new skin or skin substitutes.
There are a number of techniques that may be employed during a skin grafts procedure. Autografts are skin grafts that take skin from one area of a patient's body and transplant it to another. Allografts involve skin from a donor transplanted to a patient. Xenografts involve tissue that has come from another species and transplanted to a patient of skin grafts. There is also a product called Integra dermal regeneration template that is the only artificial material available for skin grafts that has been approved by the FDA.
The type of procedure employed for skin grafts will depend on the patient's individual needs. There are risks and benefits to each technique that a skin grafts surgeon will evaluate prior to surgery. If a patient has enough undamaged skin and is healthy enough, autografting may be optimal. With this skin grafts procedure the body is less likely to reject the transplanted skin because it recognizes the skin as its own. Both allografting and xenografting techniques may provide excellent skin grafts but are likely to be rejected by the body and are, therefore, temporary.
The FDA approved Integra skin grafts product is a technology that may facilitate the body's acceptance and growth of its own skin. The Dermal Regeneration Template is composed of two layers: a silicone outer layer that temporarily acts as the epidermis and a porous matrix that acts as the patient's dermis. Once the body's own cells begin to grow back, the silicone layer is removed and the matrix layer biodegrades, leaving the patient with flexible and pliable growing skin. If you are interested in this procedure, a skin grafts specialist can discuss the technique with you in greater detail. This technology may not always be appropriate or available for all skin grafts patients.
The nature of the skin grafts procedure itself will depend on the type of technique employed, the size and location of the treatment area, and several other variables. In an autografting technique, the thickness of the skin that is transferred will affect the nature of the procedure and the healing process. Split-thickness, full-thickness, or composite skin grafts may be used to achieve the desired results, depending on a patient's needs.
The cost of skin grafts will depend on whether the procedure is medically necessary or sought for cosmetic purposes. In most situations, however, insurance will cover some or all of the cost of skin grafts. As with all surgeries, there are risks associated with skin grafts. In general, skin grafts can be an effective way to improve the quality of the wound site and prevent serious complications related to burns and wounds. If you would like to learn more about skin grafts, please contact us to speak with a qualified and experienced plastic surgeon in your area.