Telangana needs skin banks to reduce treatment costs: Doctors

Apart from grave burn injuries in which the skin is damaged, extensive gashes endured in accidents or fractures also require skin grafting.

Published: 22nd January 2019 07:42 AM  |   Last Updated: 22nd January 2019 07:43 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

HYDERABAD: As the incidents of cylinder blasts, fire and road accidents are on the rise in the State, most of the victims are brought to government hospitals -- Gandhi Hospital or Osmania General Hospital -- given the high costs of skin treatments associated with the injuries. Currently, skin is either taken from other body parts of the patient, their family members or other means such as Collagen graft are used to cover the wounds as part of treatment. However, harvesting, storing and using skin from donors is another option which can bring down the treatment costs, say the specialists working at government hospitals. 

Apart from grave burn injuries in which the skin is damaged, extensive gashes endured in accidents or fractures also require skin grafting. Head of Dermatology department at Gandhi Hospital, Dr G Narsimha Rao Netha said that skin gets peeled when people suffer from certain disorders such as Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, or drug rashes. Depending on the severity of the damage, grafting might be required. Since there is not a single skin bank in the State, doctors have to either take skin from the patients or collagen graft are bought.

Every year, around 2,000 patients suffering with burns or injuries are admitted to Osmania General Hospital and around 1,400 to Gandhi Hospital. A maximum of one case per week is registered at private hospitals, while anywhere between four to six cases are brought to the two government hospitals. Specialists who chose to remain anonymous said that although collagen graft is an option they rely on, it needs to be bought and is expensive. “Skin bank is a better option which brings down cost of treatment,” a specialist said. 

If a skin bank is established, skin will need to be harvested either from a brain dead patient or within six hours of a person’s death. Dr Narsimha Rao said that if there is a dearth of skin, natural healing leads to contractions in the skin resulting in deformities. He said that this can be avoided if the skin is readily available.  

Gandhi Hospital’s superintendent Dr P Shravan Kumar said that since they have a Dermatology and Plastic Surgery department, the hospital is an ideal place to establish a skin bank. “We will submit our proposal to the Director of Medical Education,” Dr. Shravan Kumar said. Sources cautioned that since there is a heavy demand for skin, tight measures will be needed to, illegal sales of the skin.

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