We do a lot of cosmetic procedures here at SJG Plastic Surgery, but we also deal with more serious matters. We all want to improve our looks and cheat the signs of ageing, but some of us need to contend with disfigurements. However, we can help.
What is a full thickness skin graft?
There are two main types of skin graft: a split thickness graft (which involves the shaving of a thin sheet of skin a fraction of a millimetre thick, usually from the thigh, buttock or upper arm), and a full thickness graft, which is usually between 2 and 4 millimetres thick. The full thickness graft is best used for smaller, deeper wounds on the head, face, neck and hands –such as those left by the removal of skin cancers, moles, surgical wounds, ulcers and burns wounds.
Where is the full thickness skin graft taken from?
It depends on what area of the body requires a graft. A full thickness graft will sourced from a part of the body where skin can be removed without scarring, which also matches the intended area. For example, if the injured part of the body usually contains hair follicles, the graft area will contain follicles too. Areas considered most suitable for a full thickness skin graft include – but are not limited to – the front and back of the ear, upper eyelid, scalp, above the collarbone, the upper and inner arm, or the groin.
How long is the recovery time?
It varies. Obviously, it’s crucial that the graft is kept in place during the first week, so the grafted skin can connect with the blood supply and mesh its new surroundings. Grafts can be held in place with stitches, or medical-grade glue, or dressings. And you’ll be required to take precautions to aid this process, such as not bathing the area for at least a week, or avoiding stress to the treated area.
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