ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Skin Grafts ~ what is a skin graft ~ Things to aware of when having a skin graft

Updated on May 3, 2012

How is skin removed to use for your skin graft

If you need to have a skin graft like I did then I hope this will let you know what happens when you have this procedure. Firstly you will thankfully be asleep during both of your procedures.

The first procedure is when the top 2 layers of skin are removed from what is called the donor site. The surgeon uses a tool that looks similar to a potato peeler to remove lengths of skin from your donor site. My donor site was my right thigh and most of the skin was taken from the top of my thigh in strips.

Be aware that when you wake up the donor site will feel really sore, slightly itchy and like it is burning. It really does feel and look like someone has taken your skin off with a potato peeler.

It is at times a sad truth that surgeons need to cause us more pain to give us a better chance of having as close to a normal life as they can.

What happens with the Donated skin now?

Due to the size of the area that was needed to be covered on me the donor skin needed to be stretched and have lots of little holes put into it. This was done the day after my skin was removed from my thigh.

The surgeon told me the donated skin would be viable for a few more days yet. That was nice to know. He also said that they would have a little bit of spare stretched skin left over after they have covered my leg with the skin graft.

I asked him why he wanted to have spare skin and he told me it was for in case any of the graft didn't take they could whip me back into surgery and exchange the dying skin graft for the saved living skin graft. Basically this means you don't need to wait while you have more skin removed from a new donor site ... stretched ... before being able to fix any areas that don't take.

I like that they did this although I luckily didn't have any need for the saved skin graft.

Stapling the graft to the good skin
Stapling the graft to the good skin | Source

Placing the skin

2 days after my skin had been removed from my thigh I was finally sent into surgery to have the donor skin placed onto my lower left leg. The grafted skin was held in place by being stapled to the edges of the good skin on my lower leg.

I have to admit that I was surprised to see staples in my leg when I woke up. Before this I had only ever thought of staples being used in paper etc.

Things to be aware of after having a skin graft

After you have had a skin graft you need to make sure either the donor site or your skin graft gets sunburnt as due to the thinness of the skin in both places this could cause some serious medical problems.

The worst of these problems is that the skin could break down. This would mean that the surgeons would need to start again taking skin from a new donor site. This is not something you will want to repeat.

Secondly there is a greater chance of you getting some form of skin cancer due to the thinness of the skin and how deeply the harmful rays etc. will get.

The next thing to be aware of...

Your skin graft will never look like normal skin it will be a different colour and look spotty. Even years down the track so don't expect the grafted skin to turn into "normal" skin. It can't do this because it is only the first 2 layers that have been transferred not the full thickness with all the hair follicles etc.

The site where the skin was taken from will come close to looking normal again after many years. Please note the words "come close to".

One more thing to be aware of...

You will need to be a little more careful not to bang the area that has a skin graft as the skin will never be the same thickness of your normal skin. This means that it will tear and break easier. It will also hurt more if bumped, knocked or scraped.

It is well worth having this operation to get some form of skin coverage over any area of your body that needs to be covered as soon as possible

If you wish to read about how a drunk driver changed my life click here


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Lyn.Stewart profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Auckland, New Zealand

      Hey Chelsea ... ouch ... I have only twice gotten my skin graft sunburnt and it really is more painful than a normal sunburn. It really is worth trying not to let it get burnt as it is always more serious than getting normal skin burnt. Good luck and take care.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I have the exact same thing as you! I just recently got sunburned on my donor site.. and boy it's painful! even though it'll be 2 years the 20th, so you wouldn't think it'd be so serious.

      thank you though! this was interesting. :)

    • Lyn.Stewart profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Auckland, New Zealand

      Thanks weezyschannel

    • weezyschannel profile image


      7 years ago from Central USA

      Ouch!!! well explained though thank you!

    • Lyn.Stewart profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Auckland, New Zealand

      Thanks kashmir56 ... I wrote this to hopefully help either someone who needs this done or their family to understand what happens. Sometimes doctors don't explain things in a way we an easily understand.

    • kashmir56 profile image

      Thomas Silvia 

      7 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Lyn,very beautifully written hub and explained very well, will help anyone that needs to have skin grafts done .

      Vote up and more !!!

    • Lyn.Stewart profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Auckland, New Zealand

      Sorry about your salami sandwich darrensurrey ... I am glad that you liked it though.

    • darrensurrey profile image


      7 years ago from Surrey, England

      Great article although you've put me off my salami sandwich.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)