21 doctors weighed in:

What happens to the skin surgically removed after extreme weight loss? Is it used for burn victims or just thrown away and wasted?

21 doctors weighed in
Dr. Farhad Rafizadeh
Surgery - Plastics
6 doctors agree

In brief: It's wasted for now.

Presently we throw it away but soon there would be ways to send it to skin banks for it to be used as dermal graft.
It's really a matter of safety because people don't have to get all the necessary testing to get their tommy tuck after wait loss. Therefore the skin is not considered safe to be use as a graft.

In brief: It's wasted for now.

Presently we throw it away but soon there would be ways to send it to skin banks for it to be used as dermal graft.
It's really a matter of safety because people don't have to get all the necessary testing to get their tommy tuck after wait loss. Therefore the skin is not considered safe to be use as a graft.
Dr. Farhad Rafizadeh
Dr. Farhad Rafizadeh
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Dr. Slade Suchecki
Family Medicine
4 doctors agree

In brief: Tossed for now

The cost and risks of harvesting from living person exceeds benefit as well as required testing.
May be something in the future.

In brief: Tossed for now

The cost and risks of harvesting from living person exceeds benefit as well as required testing.
May be something in the future.
Dr. Slade Suchecki
Dr. Slade Suchecki
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Dr. Bruce Genter
Surgery - Plastics
4 doctors agree

In brief: Fate of skin removed

After any surgical skin removal, the skin is either sent to the lab or it is discarded.
During my plastic surgical training, 1982-1984, we actually did use this skin as temporary dressings for burn patients. This skin will not permanently live on another person. Since that time, the development of new dressings and ability to grow skin for the patients has ended the need for this.

In brief: Fate of skin removed

After any surgical skin removal, the skin is either sent to the lab or it is discarded.
During my plastic surgical training, 1982-1984, we actually did use this skin as temporary dressings for burn patients. This skin will not permanently live on another person. Since that time, the development of new dressings and ability to grow skin for the patients has ended the need for this.
Dr. Bruce Genter
Dr. Bruce Genter
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Dr. Todd Sisto
Breast Surgery
3 doctors agree

In brief: Could be either

But usually discarded. It's usually of poor quality.

In brief: Could be either

But usually discarded. It's usually of poor quality.
Dr. Todd Sisto
Dr. Todd Sisto
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Dr. Steven Harris
Surgery - Plastics
2 doctors agree

In brief: Thrown away

No other choice now.
Only an identical twin would be able to receive the skin and have it really "take." we do use some cadaver skin as a temporary dressing but there are a number of safer synthetic alternatives available now that have nearly made this obsolete.

In brief: Thrown away

No other choice now.
Only an identical twin would be able to receive the skin and have it really "take." we do use some cadaver skin as a temporary dressing but there are a number of safer synthetic alternatives available now that have nearly made this obsolete.
Dr. Steven Harris
Dr. Steven Harris
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Dr. Hatem Galal
Surgery - Plastics
2 doctors agree

In brief: Usually wasted

Usually it is disposed off according to medical waste protocol.
Sometimes the tissue is used as a dermal or full thickness skin graft.

In brief: Usually wasted

Usually it is disposed off according to medical waste protocol.
Sometimes the tissue is used as a dermal or full thickness skin graft.
Dr. Hatem Galal
Dr. Hatem Galal
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Dr. Otto Placik
Surgery - Plastics
1 doctor agrees

In brief: Discarded

In most instances it is discarded.
Although it could be saved as a graft or as a donor tissue the cost of the necessary testing to process the tissue is prohibitive for the limited amount of uses. Unless it is an entire organ or unless the entire body is available for harvest, it is not an economically feasible undertaking. Individuals may request this bit the resources are limited and costly.

In brief: Discarded

In most instances it is discarded.
Although it could be saved as a graft or as a donor tissue the cost of the necessary testing to process the tissue is prohibitive for the limited amount of uses. Unless it is an entire organ or unless the entire body is available for harvest, it is not an economically feasible undertaking. Individuals may request this bit the resources are limited and costly.
Dr. Otto Placik
Dr. Otto Placik
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Dr. Francisco Agullo
Surgery - Plastics
1 doctor agrees

In brief: Discarded

The excess skin is discarded.

In brief: Discarded

The excess skin is discarded.
Dr. Francisco Agullo
Dr. Francisco Agullo
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Dr. Joseph De santi
Family Medicine
1 doctor agrees

In brief: Skin's Destiny

Unfortunately skin cannot be reused in this scenario as the tissue, which is removed full thickness, cannot be grafted to another person for burns.
Such grafts, as you've described, are what we call split-thickness skin grafts are are usually harvested from the patient themselves if possible. This lowers the incidence of tissue failure. Full thickness grafts can only be used in the host donor.

In brief: Skin's Destiny

Unfortunately skin cannot be reused in this scenario as the tissue, which is removed full thickness, cannot be grafted to another person for burns.
Such grafts, as you've described, are what we call split-thickness skin grafts are are usually harvested from the patient themselves if possible. This lowers the incidence of tissue failure. Full thickness grafts can only be used in the host donor.
Dr. Joseph De santi
Dr. Joseph De santi
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Dr. David Levens
Surgery - Plastics

In brief: It can be utilized

There are companies such as life cell that process human donor skin to be utilized as a biologic dermal matrix in other patients for reconstructive purposes and tissue banks that remove the skin for use on burn patients it would be necessary for the surgeon removing thje tissue to make arrangements in advance if this type of donation is planned.

In brief: It can be utilized

There are companies such as life cell that process human donor skin to be utilized as a biologic dermal matrix in other patients for reconstructive purposes and tissue banks that remove the skin for use on burn patients it would be necessary for the surgeon removing thje tissue to make arrangements in advance if this type of donation is planned.
Dr. David Levens
Dr. David Levens
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