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Optimizing Aesthetic Results in Skin Grafting

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The aesthetic goal in skin grafting is to provide a cosmetically pleasing coverage of soft tissue defects while minimizing donor site morbidity. A skin graft should blend well with the color and texture of the surrounding skin, reduce wound size, and not interfere with the function of the reconstructed part. This review examines the key components of choosing the appropriate donor skin for a variety of defects. The decision-making process is based on the anatomic location of the defect; donor site availability; and graft size, thickness, and pigmentation. The aesthetic implications of using a sheet graft versus a meshed graft versus an expanded graft are discussed. Aside from addressing the aesthetic needs of the defect, attention is paid to the functional goals of the reconstructed part and reduced donor site morbidity. Partial graft failure can have significant deleterious effects on the aesthetic outcome of skin grafts. The need for further grafting or healing by secondary intention may result in additional scarring and deformity. Recommendations for improvement in graft take and infection control are presented.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Surgery, Division of Plastic Surgery, University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky, USA

Publication date: February 1, 2012

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  • The Southeastern Surgical Congress owns and publishes The American Surgeon monthly. It is the official journal of the Congress and the Southern California Chapter of the American College of Surgeons, which all members receive each month. The journal brings up to date clinical advances in surgical knowledge in a popular reference format. In addition to publishing papers presented at the annual meetings of the associated organizations, the journal publishes selected unsolicited manuscripts. If you have a manuscript you'd like to see published in The American Surgeon select "Information for Authors" from the Related Information options below. A Copyright Release Form must accompany all manuscripts submitted.
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