Skin Graft

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  • 1. Have you seen the movie Face-Off starring Nicholas Cage and John Travolta? This fantasy movie provides a glimpse into the futuristic world, where face transplants would be a norm. Currently, however, doctors across the world are only beginning to fully understand and carry-out this complex and questionable procedure.

2. Healthy skin is taken from a place on your body called the donor site. Most people who are having a skin graft have a split-thickness skin graft. This takes the two top layers of skin from the donor site (the epidermis) and the layer under the epidermis (the dermis). The graft is carefully spread on the bare area where it is being transplanted. It is held in place either by gentle pressure from a well padded dressing that covers it, or by staples or a few small stitches. The donor-site area is covered with a sterile dressing for 3 to 5 days. 3. A full-thickness skin graft is a more complicated procedure. The flap of skin from the donor site includes the muscles and blood supply. It is transplanted to the area of the graft. Common donor sites for full-thickness skin grafts include the chest wall, back, or abdominal wall. 4. The worlds first full-face transplant was performed in 1994 by Dr. Abraham Thomas, M.D., one of Indias prominent microsurgeons. This wasnt a movie, but a real surgery to save the life of a nine-year-old girl, whose face was destroyed due to a lawnmower accident, and surgeons simply reattached the girls original face. This surgery was inspired by previous failed attempts by US and British surgeons. 5. Areas where an infection caused a large amount of skin loss Burns Cosmetic reasons or reconstructive surgeries where there has been skin damage or skin loss Skin cancer surgery Surgeries that need skin grafts to heal Venous ulcers, pressure ulcers, or diabetic ulcers that do not heal Very large wounds 6. Risks for any anesthesia are reactions to medicines or problems with breathing Risks for this surgery are: Bleeding Chronic pain (rarely) Infection Loss of grafted skin (the graft not healing, or healing slowly) Reduced or lost skin sensation, or increased sensitivity Scarring Skin discoloration 7. Face transplants should only be used on patients who have injured or mangled their faces, not on patients who want to get rid of wrinkles or bags under the eyes. A face transplant for the sole purpose of looking more attractive is different from a face transplant for protecting one from a life of depression, loneliness and low self- esteem. 8. Are face transplants ethical? Why are face transplants unique? Alejandra Louise , Mauricio Munita , Besim Assad , Ariel Weigel