Catastrophic burn injuries are not just painful, they also leave survivors with terrible scarring and disfigurement that can affect their self-esteem and impact their quality of life. Skin grafting is one of the most common treatments for addressing deep burns, in addition to other types of wounds. It involves a procedure wherein skin is removed from one part of the body and transplanted in another. It is performed in cases where a part of the body loses its protective covering due to a severe burn, injury, or illness.
Two Kinds of Skin Grafts
There are two different types of skin grafts, which we will review below:
- Split-thickness skin grafts: This type of graft involves taking off the top layer of skin, also referred to as the epidermis, in addition to another layer of the skin that is known as the dermis. These layers of healthy skin are typically harvested from the thigh, buttocks, abdomen, or the back. This type of skin graft is typically used for covering bigger areas and are often fragile and shiny in appearance. They are also often fairer than the rest of the skin. These types of grafts do not grow as easily as ungrafted skin, so if the patient is a child, he or she will likely need additional grafts as time passes.
- Full-thickness skin grafts: Full-thickness grafts involve the removal of both the dermis and epidermis from the donor site. Unlike the split-thickness graft, donor sites for this type of graft include the groin, forearm, collarbone, and the abdomen. The pieces used for this are generally smaller and are usually transplanted to body parts that are more visible, such as the face. Full-thickness grafts tend to blend in easier with the skin around them for a more natural appearance.
Healing After a Skin Graft
The procedure itself involves several different steps and, though you will be under general anesthesia throughout the process, aftercare can be painful. Once it is over, your doctor will likely want you to remain in the hospital for a few days to ensure that the graft and donor sites are healing well. Your vitals will also be monitored and you will be given medication to help manage the pain. If, after 36 hours the graft does not begin to form blood vessels, this could indicate that the graft is being rejected.
The rejection of a skin graft can happen for any number of reasons, such as too much fluid or blood beneath the graft. In this case, another surgery will be necessary for a new graft if the first one does not take.
Burn Injury Attorney in Atlanta
If you sustained a severe burn injury, you know that the pain does not end after the incident that caused it is over. You might have to endure multiple surgeries, take pain medication, and endure the physical pain and mental suffering. At Pratt Clay, LLC in Atlanta, our catastrophic injury attorneys are here to ensure you are able to hold the responsible party accountable for their negligent actions and obtain the fair and just compensation you deserve.