1. What is Skin Banking?
Skin Banking is a facility where the skin is harvested from deceased donors, processed and stored as per international protocols up to 5 years, for use when needed.
2. Why Skin Bank is necessary?
Skin helps to maintain the temperature of the body, control the loss of water and nutrients and protects the body against infection and physical damage. When this skin is lost as in case of burns where the skin is burnt or in cases of extensive loss of skin in trauma the body is unable to maintain temperature, control water loss and is prone to infections ultimately leading to sepsis and death. In extensive burns skin can not be borrowed from another area in the body as the donor area is less. So we would need to operate and excise the dead skin and cover the area with skin from the skin bank. This helps to reduce the rate of infection, water loss and maintain temperature of the body thus saving the life of the patient.
3. When can skin be harvested?
Skin can be harvested within 6 hours from the time of death
4. Who can donate?
Any one above the age of 18 years can donate. Anybody who donates eyes can also donate skin.
5. What conditions render skin unfit for donation?
Skin of person suffering from AIDS, Hepatitis B and C, TB, Jaundice, Sexually Transmitted Diseases, skin cancer, active skin disease and septicemia are considered unfit for donation. At the time of skin harvesting, blood sample from the deceased body is taken and necessary test for HIV, Viral Markers and Hepatitis is carried out at the Skin Bank.
6. What about diabetes and hypertension?
Even donors with these conditions can donate their skin.
7. How much time does the whole skin harvesting procedure take ?
The whole procedure takes only about 30-45 minutes.
8. From which part of the body skin is harvested?
Skin is harvested from both the legs, thighs and the back.
9. Is there any bleeding or disfigurement to the body?
No, there is no bleeding from the site where skin is harvested and there is no disfigurement to the body. After the procedure, the areas from where skin is harvested are bandaged in a proper way.
10. Is entire thickness of the skin harvested?
The skin consists of two layers namely an outer epidermis and an inner dermis. Only the epidermis and part of the dermis is harvested.
11. Is it necessary to transport the donor to the hospital after death?
No, the Skin Bank Team will come to the donor’s home or wherever the donor is available. We need not shift the donor to the operating room, hospital or ambulance.
12. How will the donated skin be used?
After the skin is harvested, skin will be evaluated, processed, screened at our Skin Bank, and stored. It will be used by the Burns Surgeon for transplanting on burns patient whenever required.
13. What are the advantages of using donor’s skin on burns patients?
14. Is there any kind of Donor – Recipient matching required for skin transplant?
No, anyone’s skin can be transplanted on any one. There is no blood or tissue matching required. Once the donor skin is processed and considered usable it can be transplanted freely.
15. How long does it take to process the skin?
It takes approximately 6 weeks to process the skin.
16. How long can the skin be stored?
The donated skin can be stored for 5 years in the skin bank. However as there are considerable number of burn patients the donated skin is used much earlier than the expiry period. So the skin donated will definitely be used on the patient.
17. Does the donated skin stay on the patient?
As the skin is from another body it may slowly get rejected within 3 weeks. However it acts as a temporary dressing and helps to stabilise and build up the immunity and nutrition of the patient. This helps us to save the patient from death. We would then use multiple techniques to cover the skin.
18. If we want to call Skin Bank Team for a skin donation what should we do?
You can call Ganga Hospital Skin Bank at: 0422 2485000/0422 2485333
Toll free – 1800425 16000 – 24 hours
Please give your name, mobile or telephone number. A member of the skin bank team will call you, get your address and immediately start to your place.