Burn injuries can have a lasting effect on your health and wellness. They can also require extensive follow-up procedures to repair the damage. According to Healthline, doctors use skin grafts to treat major burn injuries.
Skin grafts entail taking healthy tissue from an area of the body and applying it to damaged areas. There are two procedures commonly used. Split-thickness skin grafts use the epidermis and a portion of the dermis to cover large areas of damage. Full-thickness skin grafts harvest all the epidermis and dermis from the donor site for use on small areas of damage.
What happens during a skin graft procedure?
Most patients undergoing skin grafts receive general anesthesia to ensure their comfort during the procedure. After removing the donor tissue, the doctor must affix it to the damaged area. There are a few methods used, including staples, stitches, or surgical dressings. In some cases, a type of mess keeps it in place.
Fluid drainage is crucial for a successful procedure. Accordingly, puncturing donor skin ensures proper drainage. This also allows it to stretch over the area effectively. After affixing the donor tissue, a sterile bandage covers the area for added protection.
What can I expect afterward?
Once released from the hospital, you must monitor the skin graft closely. Some grafts do not fully integrate with the body, which requires further medical attention. This usually becomes evident in the first 36 hours after the procedure.
Medications provide pain relief, but they also ward off infection. Take all medications according to your doctor’s instructions. Most patients must avoid physical activity for a period of three to four weeks to ensure optimum healing.
While skin grafts effectively repair burned tissue, you might still require further treatment. Many patients undergo extensive rehabilitation to make a successful recovery.