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Fact or Fiction: Skin Grafts
by Staff
In cases of extreme injury, your skin needs help recovering -- and help often comes in the form of a skin graft. How much do you know about skin grafts? Take this quiz to find out.

Skin grafts are the best treatment for severe burns.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: Skin grafts are most commonly used when a patient has a limb amputated.

Usually only third-degree burns are treated with skin grafts.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: Large second-degree burns can also be graft candidates.

Skin grafts shouldn't be used with bedsores because the area wouldn't heal properly.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: Skin grafts are OK if the bedsores are on the extremities.

To prevent infection, skin grafts are always performed using the patient's own skin.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: That's the preferred method, but it's not always possible.

When a patient's own skin is used for a skin graft, it's called an autograft.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: It's called a homograft.

If doctors can't immediately perform an autograft, they'll often place the patient in a hyperbaric chamber.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: The patient rests in a hypobaric chamber.

A graft employing skin from another human is called an allograft.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: They're called xenografts.

Temporary skin coverings can be made from pig skin.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: They're usually made from primate skin.

Split-thickness grafts are used for the most severe wounds.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: They're for the shallowest wounds.

Full-thickness grafts are used when two or more skin layers have to be removed from the donor site.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: All three skin layers are removed in a full-thickness graft.

Full-thickness grafts actually cause less scarring than split-thickness grafts.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: It all depends on where the graft is and what kind of donor skin was involved.

Conglomerate grafts are for wounds that include bone, tendon, cartilage or the loss of muscle.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: They're called complex grafts.

Surgeons use tools called dermatoscopes to remove skin from the donor site.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: They're called dermatomes.

Stomach skin is the best area for skin-graft harvesting.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: The buttocks and inner thighs are preferable.

If the patient doesn't have enough donor skin, it can be expanded with a chemical solution.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: The skin is physically stretched on a machine.

It usually takes a couple of weeks for skin regeneration to start after skin graft surgery.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: It usually only takes a couple of days.

After a skin graft, doctors can use a vacuum on the wound site to improve blood flow and suck out potentially infectious fluids.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: A vacuum sucks out the fluids and a brushlike device improves blood flow.

A graft is said to 'fail' when fluid builds up under the donor skin and prevents it from attaching to the wound site.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: This isn't a failure -- the fluid can be sucked out.

The artificial skin of choice for skin graft surgery is called Celica.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: It's called Integra.

Scientists have been working on it for years, but so far it doesn't look like full skin replacements can be grown in a lab.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: Research actually stopped years ago -- it's just not possible.