Skin Grafting and Flap Surgery
Skin grafts and flaps are more serious than other forms of scar surgery. They're more likely to be performed in a hospital
as inpatient procedures, using general anesthesia. The treated area may take several weeks or months to heal, and a support garment or bandage may be necessary for up to a year.
Grafting involves the transfer of skin from a healthy part of the body (the donor site) to cover the injured area. The graft is said to "take"when new blood vessels and scar
tissue form in the injured area. While most grafts from a person's own skin are successful, sometimes the graft doesn't take. In addition, all grafts leave some scarring at
the donor and recipient sites.
Flap surgery is a complex procedure in which skin, along with the underlying fat, blood vessels, and sometimes the muscle,
is moved from a healthy part of the body to the injured site. In some flaps, the blood supply remains attached at one end to the donor site; in others, the blood vessels in
the flap are reattached to vessels at the new site using microvascular surgery. Skin grafting and flap surgery can greatly improve the function of a scarred area. The cosmetic
results may be less satisfactory, since the transferred skin may not precisely match the color and texture of the surrounding skin. In general, flap surgery produces better
cosmetic results than skin grafts.
After scar revision
With any kind or scar revision, it's very important to follow your surgeon's instructions after surgery to make sure the
wound heals properly. Although you may be up and about very quickly, your surgeon will advise you on gradually resuming your normal activities.
As you heal, keep in mind that no scar can be removed completely; the degree of improvement depends on the size and direction
of your scar, the nature and quality of your skin, and how well you care for the wound after the operation. If your scar looks worse at first, don't panic-the final results of
your surgery may not be apparent for a year or more.
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