skin harvesting

on 10/17/09 12:54 pm - NC
as anyone heard that some hospitals or organizations would provide you with free or near free plastic surgery to use the skin for burn patients? someone told me that and i would like more info on that if it were true.
on 10/17/09 1:04 pm - OH
I've seen a couple people posting here asking about it.  But I've never heard of someone actually having it done.  I don't know where you would find out more info.

on 10/17/09 1:05 pm - herndon , VA
RNY on 01/26/10 with

This is from the Shriners website

Q:   Can skin from gastric bypass surgery be donated to children for skin grafts?

A:   No, the only donor skin that can be used at the burn center is cadaver skin processed through a skin bank. Only skin from cadavers is used for skin grafts, because cadavers give the greatest amount of surface area – up to 10 sq. feet of usable skin for a burn patient. Skin that could be taken from a person who had excessive weight loss would not generate the amount of skin or quality skin needed to treat burn patients.

on 10/17/09 1:07 pm - Jacksonville, FL
RNY on 12/20/05 with
 It is NOT true.  
The skin that obese people have is stretched out and unusable for grafting.
Actually now they "grow" skin in a lab for burn patients.
I wi**** was, as many of us would have great skin to give away.  

Bette B.
on 10/17/09 1:09 pm
It depends on wh you talk to. If you ask most burn centers, they will tell you "no." The vast majority of burn patients receive cadaver skin or, most often, their own for grafts. But, some centers DO accept donations.

Here is some info from a major burn center that says "yes", followed by one which says "no":

Living Skin Donation Program

Now you can feel as good on the inside as you will look on the outside!

Congratulations on your significant weight loss. Now you may be considering having your excess skin surgically removed to achieve the body shape you desire. Did you know that you can donate your excess skin to help others who need various medical procedures?

Yes, it’s easy to become a living skin donor. Here’s how:

  • Tell your surgeon you are interested in donating your excess skin, which is normally discarded after reconstruction.
  • Have your surgeon contact MTF at 800-581-2804. After business hours (8 am to 4 pm Eastern Standard time), your call will be returned within 24-48 hours, Monday through Friday.
  • An MTF Surgical Donation Coordinator will contact you to discuss details and schedule a medical assessment.
  • Your surgery will not be affected. Federal law prohibits buying and selling of organs and tissues. Therefore, you will not be paid for your donation, the surgery or any part of the surgeon’s fee, but donating your skin will cost you nothing extra.

Talk to your doctor, contact us at 800-581-2804, or to inquire about your eligibility please complete the information form by clicking here.

Not only will you look good, you’ll feel just as good on the inside knowing you can make a difference in someone else’s life, too!

And from

I recently lost a great deal of weight and I have a lots of excess skin. Can I donate my excess skin to a skin bank to help burn patients? Will a tissue bank pay for my skin reduction surgery if I agree to donate my tissue?

These questions are asked quite often by individuals who have lost large amounts of weight and have excess skin folds. We appreciate your desire to donate, however, this kind of donation is unworkable. Allow me to explain why:

Our center does not obtain skin from these patients for several reasons. First, this method of obtaining skin is cost prohibitive. The amount of transplantable tissue obtained from tissue reduction surgery is minimal when compared to the amount of tissue obtained from a cadaveric (deceased) tissue donor. The procurement costs would be much greater as it would require the services of doctors, nurses, anesthetists, and other health care professionals as well as the use of an operating room and other hospital services. Cadaveric donation requires only trained tissue recovery technicians, and they can procure tissue after the body has been sent to the morgue (rather than in an operating room), thus keeping expenses to a minimum.

Additionally, cadaveric donated tissue can be used for transplant soon after recovery (as soon as quality assurance testing is complete), however, the FDA requires that tissues recovered from living donors must be placed into quarantine for six months. At the end of six months, all serologic testing (HIV and Hepatitis) of the donor must be repeated before that tissue can be used.

It is extremely difficult to obtain a skin graft from tissue than has been removed during tissue reduction surgery. The usual procedure for tissue reduction surgery involves the removal of skin and underlying attached tissues, often several centimeters. Skin grafts used for transplant (burn patients) are only 15/1000 (0.015) of an inch thick and do not include these underlying tissues. Skin grafts for transplant are obtained by the use of a surgical device called a dermatome, which peels off a very thin (0.015 inch) uniform layer of skin.

I do not know of any tissue bank that would pay for a donor's tissue reduction surgical expenses for the purpose of obtaining skin for transplantation. If you are interested in donating your tissues upon your death I would encourage you to share this information with your family. Your gift can save lives and greatly reduce suffering.


Banded 10 years & maintaining my weight loss!! Any questions, message me.

on 10/17/09 5:50 pm - County Line, MI
Generally this is a myth, and even if you could find a center that wanted skin from a living donor, they aren't going to pay for your plastics in exchange for skin. If that was the case think of the millions of people that would be lined up waiting for plastic surgery! I'd probably be one of them!
Highest -380  Surgery- 345     Goal- 150   Current-150     5 ft. 8 in.

(deactivated member)
on 10/17/09 6:04 pm - AZ
On October 17, 2009 at 7:54 PM Pacific Time, mimi28212 wrote:
as anyone heard that some hospitals or organizations would provide you with free or near free plastic surgery to use the skin for burn patients? someone told me that and i would like more info on that if it were true.

Yep, what everyone else wrote.

Valerie G.
on 10/18/09 5:52 am - Northwest Mountains, GA
The skin we have is permanently damaged and nobody wants it.

11 years post op DS 
There is room on this earth for all of God's to the mashed potatoes

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