Madurai gets a skin bank

The skin bank's functions include retrieval, processing, storage, distribution and medical documentation of the collected skin.  

With the establishment of a skin bank as part of the Grace Kennett Foundation's (GKF) medical services in the city, Tamil Nadu has got its fourth such centre. Of the other three, two are in Chennai and one in Coimbatore.

The Rotary Community Skin Bank in Madurai, set up at a cost of ₹40 lakh, was ready in March this year, making it the 16th centre in India. Its operations, however, slowed down due to the pandemic. The first skin harvesting was done three weeks ago, the Chief Executive Officer of GKF, Augustus Dodd told The Hindu.

The collected skin is under a 41-day treatment process, as per the protocols, before it can be transplanted on patients of either burns injury or those who suffer skin loss from road traffic accidents.

"The cover provided with the donated skin in the first three weeks of injury can reduce the mortality rate of burns victims by almost 50 %," he said, and added, "with awareness created among public, skin donation can change the face of burns management."

The skin is required to be collected from a donor within the first six hours of death. The skin bank's functions include retrieval, processing, storage, distribution and medical documentation. The harvested skin, after treatment, can be stored up to five years at four to eight degrees Celsius. Anyone above 18 years, irrespective of sex and blood group can donate skin. There is no upper age limit. A special battery-operated instrument called dermatome is used to harvest skin from both the legs, thighs and the back. The procedure takes 45 minutes, explained Dr.Dodd.

Of the eight layers of skin on the body, the uppermost layer alone is harvested without mutilating the body.

The GKF plans to up it awareness campaigns to educate people how early skin cover skin reduces the pain, morbidity and mortality in burns patients. "It will benefit the paediatric burns patients the most," he said.

According to the National Health Portal of India, around seven million people suffer from burn injuries every year in the country with 1.4 lakh deaths and 2.4 lakh people suffer with disability.

"Most people think only eyes, heart, liver and kidneys can be donated. Whereas any donor's skin can be transplanted on any recipient without requiring blood, colour or age matching," he added.

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Printable version | Oct 19, 2021 12:16:24 PM |

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