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How your extra skin can save lives

Shelly says: Your post about donating hair to Locks of Love reminded me of this article about donating extra skin. Can this be for real?

The Left Brain responds:

It’s true. Researchers have figured out a way to “recycle” excess skin from weight loss operations into usable grafts to help with a number surgical procedures. Since the supply of skin from recently deceased donors isn’t enough to fill the surgical demand, the Musculoskeletal Transplant Foundation, the nations largest tissue bank, is now working with almost 70 surgeons around the country on a new living skin donation program.

How does living skin donation work?

When you’re having a tummy tuck or any other procedure that involves skin removal, you can chose to donate the skin for surgical use. After the skin is removed from your body, it’s prepared for its new home. First it must be stripped of fat; even though you may have lot of weight your skin can still contain excess fat. Then, other cells must be removed to prevent the recipient from rejecting the new tissue, as frequently occurs in organ transplants. The remaining slabs of skin are known as a collagen matrix.

These slabs are then cut and shaped into pieces that can be used in surgical procedures. The final pieces are packaged, frozen, and stored for distribution.

Once the harvested skin reaches the hospital, it is implanted in its new body so the collagen matrix can act as a scaffolding that the patients’ bodies use to regrow skin of their own.

What is living skin used for?

Living skin donations can be used for a variety of procedures, like reconstructing breasts after mastectomy, repairing abdominal walls from hernias, building bladder slings to control incontinence, and reshaping facial features damaged by cancer.

Researchers are still learning how to use living skin in place of cadaver skin. Cadaver skin is better for treating burn victims because it’s easier to shave off thin sheets of skin when it’s still attached to the body. Living skin requires new tools and new procedures that are still being developed.

So if you’re going ahead with that tummy tuck because you’re not satisfied with the weight loss from that new diet pill Alli, you might want to consider living skin donation.

Source: Boston.com

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • james calender April 24, 2014, 3:00 pm

    does parkland trade surgical work for excess skin in trade .such as an abdo plasty

  • claudia Del Real April 27, 2014, 10:26 am

    I had weight loss surgery in 2004.I have a lot of excess skin that I would like to donate. If anybody is interested u can contact me.

    • Ellen Tomlinson March 8, 2018, 1:18 pm

      I have extra skin I would like to donate after loosing weight

  • jessica turner rapier June 4, 2014, 9:52 pm

    I had weight loss surgery in 2010 if anyone interested in removing my excess skin for donation please contact me. I don’t know if it makes a difference but my blood type is A positive. Would love to remove it but financially can’t afford to do this on my own.

  • Tarik June 26, 2015, 9:09 pm

    hi I lost weight I was 320 pounds now I became 226 pound I have a lot extra skin and I’d like to donate that for anyone interested in please call me on that phone number and send me email

  • alnissia knox July 11, 2015, 4:53 pm

    I have los if weight loss and would like to donate excessive skin

  • Cecilia Guadalupe January 12, 2020, 8:44 pm

    I have had weight loss surgery in May of 2019 and have a lot of loose skin that I would love to donate. I am also a single mom who can’t afford to have it done. My blood type is o negative if that even matters. I look forward to hearing from someone.

  • Samkelisiwe January 23, 2020, 1:49 pm

    Hi good people I would like to donate with my bums and help other people what can I do. I’m in South Africa KZN

  • Tracey J Rogers Peterson March 27, 2020, 12:40 am

    I lost 214 pounds I have a lot of excess skin I would like to donate could you please email me and let me know if I can donate my skin to burn victims for whoever needs them and what I all need to do I live in Wisconsin USA
    thank you

  • Bongi April 5, 2020, 3:33 pm

    Dear All
    I have lots off eccess skin/tissue I would like to donate. My wish is remove a lot on my arms, weist and thighs on my own and donate it of caurse but facing a pridicament of financial constraints. It so hard as a woman bieng overweight and it is more difficult shedding it off. It is disheartening that you can’t celebrate the victory of loosing weight if you body have access skin hanging and making you feel more uncomfortable. Please help.