Burn Skin Grafting

Burn Skin Grafting

A first degree or superficial burn heals naturally because your body is able to replace damaged skin cells. Deep second and full-thickness burns require skin graft surgery for quick healing and minimal scarring. In the case of large burn size, patients will need more than one operation during a hospital stay.

Skin grafting is done in a surgical procedure that consists of:

  • The removal of injured tissue
  • Selection of a donor site, an area from which healthy skin is removed and used as cover for the cleaned burned area
  • Harvesting, where the graft is removed from the donor site
  • Placing and securing the skin graft over the surgically-cleaned wound so it can heal

To help the graft heal and become secure, the area of the graft is not moved for five days following each surgery. During this immobilization period, blood vessels begin to grow from the tissue below into the donor skin, bonding the two layers together.

There are a variety of skin grafts, some that provide temporary cover and others that are for permanent wound coverage.

Most minor burns can be treated at home. They usually heal within a couple of weeks.

For serious burns, after appropriate first aid and wound assessment, your treatment may involve medications, wound dressings, therapy and surgery. The goals of treatment are to control pain, remove dead tissue, prevent infection, reduce scarring risk and regain function.

People with severe burns may require treatment at specialized burn centres. They may need skin grafts to cover large wounds. And they may need emotional support and months of follow-up care, such as physical therapy.