What is a skin graft?
A skin graft procedure is a surgical process wherein a piece of living tissue is surgically removed from one part of the body and transferred to another part. It is done to replace tissues that have been burnt, severed or destroyed during an accident or injury.
When Would You Need Skin Grafts for Your Feet?
A skin graft is not a common surgery and is quite specialized. It is done when skin is lost due to:
- Invasive surgeries for trauma
Apart from the above reasons, certain conditions and diseases like diabetes, HPV infections, some kinds of psoriasis, etc., can cause wounds and trauma on the feet, destroying skin and making it necessary to get a skin graft.
Benefits of a Skin Graft
Skin grafts can help in restoring mobility, promoting movement and even in saving limbs. People with diabetes are prone to foot sores and ulcers which can get infected and can be difficult to treat. Skin grafts are a boon to them. They help in effectively healing the wound. With skin grafts, doctors are able to actually save the foot and prevent amputations.
What Does Skin Grafting Involve?
In a skin graft procedure, living or non-living tissue will be taken from a part of the body where it won’t be missed, like the thigh and it will be placed on the area where the skin has been lost. Once the grafted tissue takes hold, it will steadily provide for viable skin growth. The sooner a graft is done, the better are the results.
Types of Skin Grafts
Depending on the location and severity of the wound where the skin was destroyed, the type of skin graft will be decided on. There are two kinds – split-thickness and full-thickness grafts.
In this procedure, the top layer of the skin, the epidermis, and a portion of the deeper layer of the skin, the dermis, will both be removed. Split-thickness skin grafts are usually harvested from the front or outer thigh, abdomen, buttocks, or back. They are usually large pieces of skin as these grafts are needed when dealing with large areas of destroyed skin.
In a procedure with a full-thickness graft, the whole of the epidermis and dermis will be removed from the donor site. The areas that it would normally be harvested from could be the abdomen, groin, forearm, or the area above the collarbone. These grafts tend to be smaller pieces of skin as the wounds that they will be used on will be smaller.
In case of a foot trauma that needs a skin graft, the foot surgeon will determine what kind of skin graft is needed, depending on the severity and the size of the wound.