Skin grafting is necessary when a patient is severely burned, which is considered to be a third degree burn. In a third degree burn the epidermis, dermis, and hypodermis are all affected from this this burn. Third degree burns are the most severe type of bun there is because the affect the epidermis, dermis, and the subcutaneous layer. After this type of burn the skin may appear charred, blanched, or bright red and normally the person affected by this won’t feel any pain because of the the nerves that were damaged.
After the burn has occurred the patient may require a broad-spectrum antibiotic that is given to treat and prevent infections from a wide variety of bacteria. The patient’s burn/s would place them at risk for infections because the protective orga is no longer there and the immune system is not working due to the burns. Without the protective covering, the patient is not able to protect themselves from bacterial infections.
The skin is normally colonized with bacteria but it doesn’t cause a problem because it is usually able to fight it off. Normally with these types of burns it will require weeks to months for the skin to heal.
This is an extremely slow process that will sometimes cause patients to have infections or go into hypovolemic shock. however if the patient were to get a skin graft, this process would speed up. The skin graft will help out while the ski is healing, and doctors will usually prescribe antibiotics for the patient to take.
The debridement process is often accomplished by placing the part of the body that is burnt into hydrotherapy tank which helps remove the burned tissue. To make sure they minimize fluid loss, and risk of infection, cardiac skin pig skin, or a human amniotic membrane is temporarily place over where the burn is.
In doing so this covers and helps protect the skin and it will be removed once the patient is stabilized. Depending on the size of the burn, it is replaced with by skin harvested from another area of the patient’s body or by a synthetic graft. In a synthetic graft placement, a plastic meshwork covered with collagen and ground cartilage is placed onto the damaged skin area. Over time, the patient’s own blood vessels in the dermis grows into the synthetic graft. Later onto the macrophages follow and digest the graft’s collagen and ground
cartilage while fibroblast migrate in and lay down new connective tissue. As the process progresses, healthy epidermis is harvested is harvested from non-burned parts of the patient’s body. The epidermis cells cover the burned surface, but the patient may still still have scars or may not ever fully heal. Although skin grafts are helpful in restoring the skin to the body, patients may experience long term problems that may include extensive scar formation which can limit mobility. The first skin grafts were created in Massachusetts at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
John F. Burke the cheif of Trauma Services at Massachusetts General Hospital joined with Ioannis V. Yannis a chemistry professor at MIT to create artificial skin using shark cartilage and collagen from cowhide. Their synthetic material, Silastic, was created and the two continued to experiment with their product and found that the artificial skin acted like a framework for the new skin tissue and blood vessels grew, although the new cells were unable to produce hair follicles or sweat glands that would have normally been found in the dermis.
As the skin began to grow back, the cowhide and shark cartilage began to break down and were absorbed into the body. The first skin graft was conducted in 1979 when Burke and yannis used the artificial skin on a woman who suffered burns on over half of her body. Burke peeled back her burned skin and then applied a layer of artificial skin and began to graft it to her skin. The woman’s new skin, was the same color as her unburned skin, was growing at a healthy rate at three weeks after the surgery and that was how the first skin graft was created.
In our society, we are making progress in respect to making better skin grafts, but there is still work to do. The tissue-engineered skin has been made to look and feel like real skin but it also has it limitations. It can’t grow blood vessels so there will be no blood supply to feed the skin. The body often will reject the new skin as a result of the blood supply the skin will lose function. The skin in skin grafts also can’t grow hair, sweat, or heal wounds like natural skin because it lacks the cells to carry out theses tasks.
Skin grafts have come a long way and are very beneficial in today’s society as they are able to help many burn victims restore their body to their previous state with a few compensations. Work Cited: -“Artificial skin” World of Health. Gale, 2007. Gale Science in Context. Web. 13 Nov. 2012 -“Skin Substitutes. ” Biotechnology: Changing Life Through Science. Vol 1: Medicine. Detroit: U*X*L, 2007. 236-240. Gale Science In Context. Web. 13 Nov. 2012.