The skin is the largest organ of the body and is also the most important one. The human body depends on the skin to perform various functions like maintaining normal temperature, hydration, and preventing bacteria from entering the nervous system of the body. The skin is also an excellent healer and heals itself when it has received an injury or a cut. However, there are certain kinds of injuries which damage a certain area of the skin on a permanent basis and the skin loses the ability to repair itself. These unfortunate incidents are usually caused by an accident or a major third degree burn and in such conditions people opt for a skin grafting procedure to repair the external skin structure.
A skin grafting procedure is specifically used to replace damaged or missing skin. In severe cases doctors also use this procedure to cover a deep wound so that further infection can be prevented. A skin grafting is a medical procedure in which new skin is placed over a major burn or a non healing wound. This covering is done to protect blood loss and further complications which can arise if the skin is ripped off from a particular area. Skin grafting is specially used for third degree burns as open burns may cause infection and loss of important fluids. Doctors also use this procedure to cover up wounds caused by diabetes or bed sores to prevent further complications. The new skin required to cover the wound or burn can be taken from the individual's own body or from a separate individual who is called a donor.
There are two types of skin grafting procedures; Full Thickness Skin Grafts and Split Thickness Skin Grafts. In both these procedures, doctors are required to remove the damaged skin first and then put the new skin on the wound.
Full Thickness Skin Grafts
This procedure is used when the patient is suffering from severe burn injuries. This procedure is much more complicated than Split Thickness Skin Grafts but has a much better success rate. This procedure is performed in the case of extensive tissue loss, where there is an open wound with high quantity of damaged skin and high chances of infection.
Split Thickness Skin Grafts
A Split Thickness Skin Grafting procedure involves the usage of the first layer (epidermis) and a little part of second layer (underlying dermis). The surgeon begins the procedure by making the outline of the wound and calculating how much skin would be needed. Surgeons use a dermatome (an instrument used for cutting thin slices of skin) to remove healthy skin from the donor. The cut should not be too deep and it should be made on the area which is hidden by clothes such as thighs or buttocks.
Cost of Skin Graft Surgery
Before the skin grafting procedure begins it is very necessary that the patient and the doctor have a detailed chat on what would be done. The chances of recovery, side effects, dangers and the cost should be discussed in detail. Skin grafts are usually performed when the injured skin has lost the ability to heal itself and this operational procedure is bound to be pretty expensive. Doctors would require new donor skin to treat the wound and if the new skin is coming from the patient, then cost would be quite less. However, if the donor is a separate individual, the cost would be increased. The total cost of entire this procedure goes to $4000 to $9000, excluding post operational treatment and consultation charges. The total amount is decided after taking many factors into consideration such as; donor's fees, the hospitalization charges, medications, surgeons fees, operational charges, post operational charges and consultation fees. The cost of the surgery also depends on the area of the skin graft. If the area of the wound is big, more skin would be needed to cover it up. After the surgery the donor and the receiver both would be kept in the hospital for observation so that doctors can watch out for further post surgery complications.
The skin graft surgery cost will also depend on whether the procedure is used for medical or cosmetic reasons. This surgery is covered by insurance in most cases and like all surgeries, even skin graft procedures come with their share of risks. For a better understanding of skin graft procedures, it is advised to have a personal meeting with a qualified plastic surgeon and then opt for this procedure.