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Skin Flap Surgery

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

Skin flap surgery is done to cover a deep or large open wound, or repair damaged skin. A skin flap is a portion of skin that is moved from one area of the body to another. The area the skin flap will be taken from is called the donor site. One end of the skin flap often remains attached to the donor site and to its blood supply. The other end of the skin flap is moved to cover the wound. Skin flaps and their blood vessels may be completely removed from the donor site and connected to blood vessels at the flap site.

WHILE YOU ARE HERE:

Before your surgery:

  • Informed consent is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.
  • An IV is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or liquids.
  • General anesthesia will keep you asleep and free from pain during surgery.

During your surgery:

Your surgeon will trim the wound to make a wound bed with edges. He or she will make incisions in the donor site to make the skin flap. The thickness of the skin flap will be made equal to the wound and will include a thin layer of fat. The skin flap will be further trimmed to the exact size and shape of the wound site so that it fits correctly. Your surgeon will move the skin flap to the wound site and stitches will be used to attach it. He or she will place bandages over the skin flap and donor site.

After your surgery:

You will be taken to a room to rest until you are fully awake. You will be monitored closely for any problems. Do not get out of bed until your healthcare provider says it is okay. You will then be able to go home or be taken to your hospital room.

  • You will be helped to walk around after surgery. Movement will help prevent blood clots. You may also be given exercises to do in bed. Do not get out of bed on your own until your healthcare provider says you can. Talk to healthcare providers before you get up the first time. They may need to help you stand up safely. When you are able to get up on your own, sit or lie down right away if you feel weak or dizzy.
  • Medicines may be given to relieve pain or nausea. You may also need medicines to prevent a bacterial infection.

RISKS:

You may bleed more than expected or get an infection. You may have continued pain or swelling after the surgery. The flap site may not look and feel the way you expected. The surgery may not be successful and need to be done again. You may get a blood clot in your limb. This may become life-threatening.

CARE AGREEMENT:

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

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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.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.