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Skin Graft: What to Expect

skin graft Wound Healing

Is A Skin Graft Painful?

The most common concern people have before undergoing a skin grafting procedure is whether it will be painful. The thought of having your skin removed can be terrifying for even the toughest of people. Fortunately, skin grafts almost always involve general anesthesia. Since you will be asleep throughout the procedure, you won’t experience any pain or discomfort.

However, once you wake up, you may start to feel some pain, depending on how severe the surgery was. Your doctor and the hospital staff will closely monitor your vital signs after the surgery and will provide you with medication to minimize the pain.

Afterward, the doctors will provide you with prescription medication to manage the pain that you will have to take for a few days or weeks after the surgery. They will also guide you about how to care for the site to avoid any infections.

How Long Does A Skin Graft Take To Heal? Is skin grafting used for skin cancer?

When it comes to healing, you will be concerned about two things: the donor site and the grafted site.

The donor site is the area from which the skin was removed. This area usually heals within 2 or 3 weeks after the surgery.

The grafter site, on the other hand, takes a bit longer to heal. During this time, you should avoid activities that could stretch the site, as this could slow down the healing process. Your doctor will let you know when it is safe to resume your normal activities during your subsequent checkups.

Is Skin Grafting Major Surgery?

If you are about to get a skin graft, it is crucial to know that it is major surgery. It comes with some potential complications and serious risks, and you need to take a lot of precautions before and after the surgery. It is important to discuss all your options with your doctor beforehand. And if possible, you should always opt for a less severe option.

However, in some cases, skin grafting may be the only choice you have left. If so, we recommend that you thoroughly discuss the procedure with your healthcare provider so that you know what you’re getting into.

Types of Skin Grafts?

There are four basic types of skin grafting procedures.

  • Allograft: This is a temporary skin graft that usually uses skin from a cadaver. This type of skin grafting only lasts until the skin grows back or the area is being prepared for an autograft.
  • Autograft: This is the most common type of skin grafting, where one’s own skin is removed from another part of the body to apply in the affected area. This type of skin grafting is permanent.
  • Skin Substitute: This type of skin grafting uses semi-synthetic skin that is grown in a lab. This can be used for temporary or permanent skin grafting.
  • Xenograft: While it is rare, sometimes the skin from an animal donor is also used for skin grafting. This is also a temporary graft and is only used when there is a chance that the natural skin will grow back.

What Are The Risks Of Skin Grafts?

There are various risks associated with a skin grafting procedure. These include:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Scarring
  • Uneven skin surface
  • Skin discoloration
  • Chronic pain
  • Reduced skin sensation
  • Increased skin sensitivity

A good surgeon will take all the measures required to reduce the risk associated with skin grafting. However, if you experience any of these issues post-surgery, immediately contact your doctor.

What Happens If You Don't Get A Skin Graft?

If a skin graft isn’t performed on the affected area, the wound will take a much longer time to heal. In addition to that, an open wound is also more susceptible to infections. It is generally recommended to undergo a skin grafting procedure if you have severe open wounds.

However, it is ultimately your call to get a skin graft or not. If you do choose not to undergo the procedure, your wounds will eventually heal. But the process will be much longer, and you’ll have to be a lot more careful.

What Is The Alternative To Skin Graft?

Currently, there aren’t any known alternatives to skin grafting that have shown long-term results. Scientists have developed a few other treatments to speed up the healing process, but the research is still in its preliminary stages. Hence, the treatments aren’t easily available. Currently, if you don’t want to get a skin graft, the only other option is to let your skin heal naturally.


If you have developed a large wound or bruise that you think requires a skin graft, immediately visit Suncoast Skin Solutions or your nearest plastic surgeon.

Still Have Questions?

Schedule An Appointment Online Now to meet with one of our providers. If you need to speak by phone please call us at 1-844-SUNDERM.