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Skin Bank

Skin Bank

"Call Ganga Hospital skin bank number 0422 2485000 within 6 hours after death for skin donation"

How we started?

Ganga Hospital Skin Bank was started to address the needs of major burns victims. An MOU was entered with the Skin Bank of National Burns Centre, Airoli Mumbai. Dr S Raja Sabapathy and a team of surgeons and anaesthetists visited the National Burns Centre in March, 2014. Dr Sanjai Ramkumar and Mrs Nalini Balaji, Microbiologist spent a week for training at the centre.

The skin bank was inaugurated by Dr (Mrs) Mathangi Ramakrishnan. Dr Amalorpavanathan, State Transplant Coordinator of the Government of Tamilnadu and Dr Sunil Keshwani, Chief Burns Surgeon of National Burns Centre was the Guest of Honor. The license for the bank was obtained on April 10th, 2015. This is the 2nd skin bank in Southern India.

Processing of the donated skin

Skin is harvested within 6 hours of death

  1. Within 6 hours of death of a possible donor the next of his / her authorized kin needs to inform the 24 hour Ganga Hospital Skin Bank at: 0422 2485333 / 000 Toll free – 180042516000– 24 hours

  2. Upon receiving such a call, after checking for cause of death and contraindications, the skin retrieval team will reach the place of death in a short time.

  3. Before harvesting scrubbing shaving and cleaning of the body will be done.

  4. Then, the retrieval team doctor harvests the skin only from legs, thighs and back with a special instrument called dermatome, only 0.3mm thickness of the skin will be harvested so there will be no bleeding, no disfigurement of body. It will not even be visible to persons who come to pay their homage as after harvesting, the area is bandaged and donor’s body is handed over with care to the next of the kin.

  5. This procedure takes only about 45 minutes.
    Before Skin Harvest

    After Skin Harvest

    After Dressing

  6. Harvested skin is preserved in 50% glycerol solution along with antibiotics in a sterile container

Harvested skin is transferred into 85 % glycerol along with antibiotics within 24 hours in a biosafety cabinet using laminar flow

This is then placed in a shaking incubator for 3 hours.

This is stored at 5 degrees centigrade for 3 weeks in a cold storage room.

Skin is cut



Skin is cut, meshed, measured, placed in bottles with 85% glycerol and stored 5 degree Centigrade.
Skin bits are sent for bacterial and fungal cultures.

What you need to know about skin donation ?

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.

Before Skin Harvest

After Skin Harvest

After Dressing

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?

  • Reduces infection.
  • Reduces pain
  • Lessens the hospital stay and cost of treatment.

  • 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.

    For more info