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Skin Grafting

Skin Grafting

What is Skin Grafting?

Cost of Skin Grafting for Vitiligo – Skin Grafting Surgery in Delhi. Skin grafting is one of the tissue grafting methods for treating vitiligo/White Patches by Dr. Sandeep Bhasin at Care Well Medical Centre.

Skin grafting is one of the tissue grafting methods for treating vitiligo – a skin disorder in which there is loss of pigment thereby causing whitish patches on the skin. Melanin, the pigment which is responsible for delivering the skin color and tone reduces, as a result of this disease. Often, there is no specific cause of vitiligo. Skin grafting is a type of grafting surgery where skin gets transplanted. The tissue that gets transplanted is called a skin graft.

There are mainly two kinds of skin grafts: thin layered and thick layered. For stable and non-responsive vitiligo, it is the most successful surgical method. It is also most useful technique as compared to the other tissue grafting procedures for treating vitiligo.

How is Skin Grafting Done?

The skin grafting procedure starts with an IV that is injected in hand, arm or wrist. This IV enables doctors to provide medicines and fluids during and after the surgery. Once it’s time for surgery, doctors inject a medicine into the IV line. This medicine is general anesthesia, which makes patients gradually fall asleep and remain asleep throughout the surgery. As a result, patients won’t feel the pain. Once the patient is fully asleep, the surgeon starts the operation process.

At first, the surgeons remove skin from the donor site. If they perform a split-level thickness graft, they remove skin from an area of the body such as hip or the thigh, usually which is hidden by clothing. If they conduct full-thickness graft, they remove skin from abdominal wall or chest wall. Once skin is removed from the donor site, the surgeon carefully places it over the transplanted area and secures it with proper surgical dressings, stitches or staples. The donor area is also covered with a dressing that covers the wound without sticking to it. Within 36 hours, the graft starts developing blood vessels and connects to the skin.

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Preparing for Skin Grafting:

While opting for surgical processes like skin grafting, it is best to have some preparation time before actually proceeding towards the surgery. The following steps shall give a proper guideline about taking the necessary preparations before skin grafting for treating vitiligo.

  • It is best to schedule the skin graft in advance so that both the patient and the doctor can give time to plan for the process.
  • While preparing for the treatment, patients should go for consultation with their doctors. During this phase, they must inform the doctors about the medicines they are taking, their past medical history, previous surgeries, if done and other medical-related information. It is so because there are certain medicines that have a tendency to interfere with the ability of blood to form clots. For undergoing skin grafting, often doctors ask their patients to stop consuming such medicines or reduce its dosage.
  • Patients must follow all guidelines as given by the doctors. They might be asked to avoid certain food or drinks after the midnight, as on the day of surgery. It is because during the surgery, vomiting and chocking are prevented, especially if anesthesia nauseates.


Post-surgery treatment for Skin Grafting:

Since general anesthesia is provided during the surgery, therefore patients are more likely to feel drowsy and sleepy. They are kept in the hospitals for certain period of time and then discharged according to their condition. Once the surgery is over, patients should look forward to post-operation care and maintenance. Post-surgery treatment is very important for vitiligo patients. While the operation might be successful, however post-surgical care is crucial for fast and safe recovery. The after-surgery procedures are as follows:

  • Soon after the surgery, the hospital staff monitors the condition of the patient and analyses vital signs. If patients suffer from acute pain, they are supplied with relevant medications. In case, it’s chronic, doctors are called.
  • In case of split-level thickness graft, doctors ask patients to stay in the hospital for few days to ensure that both the graft and the donor site are recovering well.
  • If blood vessels don’t begin to form within the graft, shortly after the operation, it sends a signal that the body is rejecting the graft. This calls for emergency attention from the hospital staff and doctors. Patients then need to go for a second graft.
  • In case of full-thickness graft, patients need to stay in hospitals for one or two weeks. There are other requirements such as occupational and physical therapy that help patients in healing from skin grafting.
  • Doctors often prescribe important medications that patients need to take orally. These medications help in reducing complications and removes pain from the operated areas. The surgeons will also recommend ways for preventing infection to the grafts and donor sites. Patients should follow these suggestions carefully.
  • It is also advisable to control regular activities and duties, soon after discharge. Once the transplanted tissue starts connecting with the skin and the overall skin condition becomes normal, which ideally takes around three to four weeks, patients can slowly return back to normal activities. Before that, they must not move out or injure themselves.


Advantages of Skin Grafting:

The main advantage of this form of grafting is its ability to treat larger sections of area in shorter span of time.


Disadvantages of Skin Grafting:

  • In this procedure, surgeons need to maintain uniformity while taking split-thickness grafts. This however requires skills and experience. Not all are efficient in doing this.
  • The treatment leads to various difficulties such as stuck-on or tire-patch appearance, color mismatch, milia, curling of the border with bearded appearance, perigraft halo of depigmentation and scarring of donor site.

Skin Grafting Cost: Ideally, the average cost for operating a large section of vitiligo is about INR 60,000/-. The cost however depends on the amount of white patches to be treated. Therefore, it varies accordingly. Also, the standard of the clinics determine the overall cost of treatment. Higher is the standard, more is the cost. In addition to surgical expense, there are additional costs which might have to be incurred during the recovery phase. Patients must also consider such expenses and be prepared.
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