How to Care for a Skin Graft
Caring for a skin graft after surgery is a little difficult because instead of taking care of one incision, you have to take care of both the skin graft and the donor site where the skin came from. Being on top of your post-operative care is extremely important because without proper handling, the skin graft can become infected or not heal properly. A skin graft may be needed to repair damaged skin on the body from burns, skin cancer, large wounds, and more, so the graft needs to stay clean in order to do its job without complications.
The first step to caring for a skin graft is caring for you! That means you need to keep up with any medications and rest often. Your physician may also detail any specific diets he or she wants you to pursue. You will meet with your surgeon after your procedure and get information about how long you should rest for and how often to take your medication.
Surgical dressing is often placed on the graft in the first stages of healing. It may be tempting to pick at it, especially if you feel an itch, but you need it to stay on for as long as your physician recommends (typically about a week). Keep the dressing clear from any dirt, but avoid getting it wet as this may be uncomfortable and cause it to come off. The physician may give you a new dressing or remove it depending on your progress at your follow up appointment. If the dressing is removed, he or she will tell you whether or not you can get the skin graft wet. Usually, Specialty Surgical Center physicians recommend gently washing the graft using a gentle stream of water and soap. Patients can avoid disrupting their skin graft by patting it dry with a cloth.
Caring for the donor site is very similar. Patients will have a dressing over the wound initially, but will be given instructions on how to remove it. If the dressing becomes difficult to remove, handle it with care. A little bit of water can be drizzled on to ease the bandages off. Bathing the donor site is very similar to the graft site when the bandages come off. You should avoid submerging both in a bath for long periods of time, but keep the areas clean using gentle products.
Remember to always be careful when handling the wound at both the graft site and the donor site. Always make sure you wash your hands before touching or handling the graft or any surgical dressings. If you have any questions about caring for or cleaning your skin graft, please call our Sparta office. Our physicians will be more than happy to answer your questions or repair any damaged grafts safely.
Specialty Surgical Center is located in Sparta, New Jersey and our staff consists of board certified surgeons and anesthesiologists performing procedures in Orthopedics, Sports Medicine, Spinal Care, Podiatry, Urology, Pain Management, ENT, Hand Surgery, Lithotripsy, Brachytherapy, GYN and Laser Surgery.
For more information about Specialty Surgical Center, call 973-940-3166 or visit our Contact Page.