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Please be aware that there are images of wounds on this page
A skin graft is to replace damaged skin (tissue). You may need to have a skin graft if you have suffered a burn, trauma or need plastic reconstructive surgery.
In some cases a wound is too large or too tight to be able to bring the edges together for direct closure. In these cases a SSG is an effective way of closing a wound. Although SSGs will take a few weeks to heal this time is much less than if the wound was left to heal without any intervention.
Skin grafts do not take their own blood supply with them, they need a healthy wound bed that can grow into them and give them a blood supply. As this happens, the skin graft starts to stick down to its new bed and gradually becomes incorporated into the surrounding skin. This is called the process of skin graft ‘take’.
Sometimes this is not possible because the wound bed that the SSG has been placed on is not healthy and, therefore, the graft does not survive.
Once the top two dressings have been removed, you should then wash over the white dressing every day with soap and water. Pat off excess moisture and leave open to the air to dry. Do not be tempted to cover the white dressing tempted to cover the white dressing.
If the area still oozes fluid, step up the washing to two or three times a day. This will help to get rid of any excess fluid and the white dressing will eventually dry.
As the edges start to lift off these should be trimmed back to prevent catching on your bedding and clothes.
If the wound starts to smell or the surrounding skin starts to become red and painful. Increase the washing to night and morning. If this doesn’t improve contact the Plastic team.
Once the area has healed fully the white dressing will fall off. This can take up to six weeks.
Once healed, the area may appear dry. You can use a non-perfumed moisturiser two to three times a day to help keep the area soft.
For further information and advice please email the Plastic Surgery team: firstname.lastname@example.org
This information is intended for patients receiving care in Brighton & Hove or Haywards Heath.
The information in this leaflet is for guidance purposes only and is no way intended to replace professional clinical advice by a qualified practitioner.
Publication Date: May 2021
Review Date: February 2024