|A skin graft is a procedure in which healthy skin is removed (harvested) and transferred to another area of the body, where the skin has been severely damaged by burns, injury, or surgery. New cells grow from the graft, covering the damaged area with fresh skin.|
Skin grafts are categorized by the thickness of the donor tissue and the source of the graft. Partial or split-thickness skin grafts (STSGs) contain the outer layer of skin (epidermis) and some but not all of the second layer of skin (dermis), whereas full-thickness skin grafts (FTSGs) contain epidermis, dermis, and various amounts of tissue beneath the skin (subcutaneous tissue).
Split-thickness skin grafts, in which less than the full thickness of skin is removed from the donor site, are used when large areas need to be covered, such as after burns. The donor sites are left to regrow (regenerate), which they do in only a few days. These sites can be harvested repeatedly. Full-thickness grafts are usually preferred for the face because they more closely resemble the appearance of normal skin. These donor sites, however, are limited, must be sutured closed, and cannot be reharvested. In a pedicle flap graft, skin from an area near the wound is loosened and pressed over onto the damaged tissues. This technique allows one side of the grafted skin to remain attached to its original site, receiving its own blood supply.
Skin grafts can also be categorized by the source of donor tissue. Autografts are taken from the individual receiving the graft, whereas allografts are donated from another person. In either case, if outer skin (epidermis) is allowed to grow in culture to create an increased amount of donor tissue, it is called a cultured autograft or allograft.
The type of skin graft depends on the repair needed and the available blood supply of the damaged area. Skin from an identical twin often makes a successful graft. Skin donated from another person or animal provides a useful temporary cover but may be eventually rejected by the recipient's body.
Skin grafting is used to cover a wide variety of wounds that cannot be suitably closed surgically. Such wounds arise in a broad population and in all age groups, for a variety of reasons.
Source: Medical Disability Advisor