Some wounds may be more difficult to close directly, such as one that is particularly wide. In this case, our board-certified plastic surgeon will utilize a skin graft—a patch of healthy skin donated from another area of the body—in treatment. The skin graft can be used to cover an area of the body where the skin is damaged or missing.
There are three fundamental types of skin grafts:
Split-thickness skin graft
Full-thickness skin graft
In addition to skin grafts, tissue expansion is a method of wound treatment that offers an abundance of benefits. This procedure gently stretches the skin in the area adjacent to the wound by inserting an expander—a balloon-like device—beneath the skin. As the expander is gradually filled with a saline (saltwater) solution, the skin above begins to grow in size. The amount of time required to complete the process depends on the size of the wound to be repaired and the individual patient’s rate of skin growth.
Expanded tissue from the scalp typically can retain hair growth, so this method can be particularly effective for repairs in this region. Tissue from other areas of the body generally do not offer the same level of hair growth. Once healed, this approach often achieves very natural-looking results.
Flap Surgery and Microsurgery
The process of relocating a section of tissue is called flap surgery, and this method of microsurgery is designed to help restore the appearance and function of an area of the body that has damaged or missing skin, muscle movement, fat, and/or bone structure. There are several different types of flaps, some of which are detailed below.