Skin Grafting

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:

Skin grafting is surgery to cover and repair wounds with a skin graft. A skin graft is a portion of healthy skin that is taken from another area of your body called the donor site. Substitute skin grafts may also be used. These grafts may be artificial or they may come from another person or animal, such as a pig. Substitute skin grafts may be used only as temporary covers when large areas of the skin are damaged. They are replaced with your own skin over time.

AFTER YOU LEAVE:

Medicines:

  • Pain: You may be given medicine to take away or decrease pain. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take your medicine.

  • Antibiotics: This medicine is given to fight or prevent an infection caused by bacteria. Always take your antibiotics exactly as ordered by your primary healthcare provider. Do not stop taking your medicine unless directed by your primary healthcare provider. Never save antibiotics or take leftover antibiotics that were given to you for another illness.

  • Anti-itching medicine: Caregivers may give you medicine to help keep your skin from itching. This medicine may be given in an IV, as a shot, by mouth, or as a skin lotion. Sometimes this medicine can make you sleepy.

  • Take your medicine as directed. Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Follow up with your primary healthcare provider as directed:

You may need to return to have your wound checked or stitches removed. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Rest when you need to while you heal after surgery.

Slowly start to do more each day. Return to your daily activities as directed.

Wound care:

  • Keep your wounds clean and dry: When you are allowed to bathe, carefully wash the graft and donor sites with soap and water. Dry the area and put on clean, new bandages as directed. Change your bandages every time they get wet or dirty.

  • Limit movements, such as stretching: This will help prevent bleeding, shearing, and swelling in the wound and graft sites.

  • Protect the graft site from direct sunlight for at least 6 months: This will help prevent scarring and skin color changes.

Contact your primary healthcare provider if:

  • You have a fever.

  • You have nausea or vomiting.

  • Your skin is itchy, swollen, or has a rash.

  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • Blood soaks through your bandage.

  • You feel something is bulging out from your graft site and not going back in.

  • Your graft or donor site has blood, pus, or a foul-smelling odor.

  • You have more pain in the graft area.

  • You have sudden trouble breathing.

© 2013 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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