A time-tested technique for reconstructive surgeries, skin grafting involves surgically excising and moving healthy skin from one part of the body to another area of the body where skin has been permanently removed, damaged or scarred.
Because skin grafting involves simultaneous surgeries on two parts of the body, it is often performed on an inpatient basis under general anesthesia. While we do not discourage skin grafting when medically advisable or when preferred by the patient, California Skin Institute prefers less invasive procedures when possible.
Skin grafting surgery begins with the selection of a patch (graft) of skin from an area of the body with the closest possible physical attributes as the affected area. The surgeon carefully sutures the graft in place, using thin sutures around the edges to ensure the smallest scar possible.
Alternatives to skin grafting
Tissue expansion can be a viable alternative to skin grafts. This procedure involves implanting an inflatable balloon-like expander under skin adjacent to the scar. By injecting a sterile solution over time, the healthy skin stretches. When the scar tissue and the expander are removed, the freshly expanded tissue remains in place where the scar once appeared.
In a flap closure procedure, the surgeon lifts a small piece of skin from an area directly adjacent to the wound. This piece is not completely removed and is still attached to surrounding skin tissues and underlying blood vessels. This piece of tissue is then pulled over the wound and sutured into place.
Tissue expansion and flap closure are optimal ways to ensure the lowest possible visibility of a scar after skin has been removed due to major surgery or trauma. The skin that covers the wound is located directly adjacent to the treatment site, meaning that its pigmentation and texture will be very similar to the affected area and won’t be as conspicuous after healing.
Individual results may vary, as may the number of surgeries required to achieve the patient’s desired results.