Skin bank exists, but where are the donors!

Karnataka got its first skin bank in the state-run Victoria Hospital in 2016. But it saw just 105  cadaver skin donations in the last three years.

Published: 04th December 2019 06:53 AM  |   Last Updated: 04th December 2019 06:53 AM   |  A+A-

The skin bank at Victoria Hospital

Express News Service

BENGALURU: Karnataka got its first skin bank in the state-run Victoria Hospital in 2016. But it saw just 105  cadaver skin donations in the last three years.As many as 93 skin graftings have been done on burns victims in the past three years. While a large number of cases of burns are reported every year, not many donors have come forward to donate skin and doctors call it a “very sad number”.

According to records, each year the skin bank sees only 35 donors on an average, while doctors say it should reach a minimum of 100 “for a good start”.“There are thousands of people who suffer burns and in spite of having a skin bank, we are unable to help many people. The problem is many people believe that skin grafting will be done on the whole body (of a patient) and it will cause disfigurement to the body of the deceased. This is far from the truth and there is a lack of awareness on it,” said BN Nagaraj, Skin Bank in-charge.

Nagaraj pointed out that the largest organ of the body is the skin and even a loss of 40 per cent of it can be fatal if the tissue is not placed.“It (the number of donation) is quite a sad number. People come forward for corneal donations but not for skin donations. The skin can help burns patients greatly as it is used as biological dressing,” he said.

He said the donor’s skin is taken out only from the back of the thighs and legs and the thickness is only 3mm. It means a total of 1000-3000 sqcm. And once skin grafting is done, processing  takes about 52 days, after which it can be used on patients, he said.Any individual aged above 18 years is eligible for skin donation. The skins of individuals who have HIV, HCV, HbsAg are not accepted.

In fact, family members of the deceased do not have to come to the skin bank. A team will reach the donor’s place. However, in spite of all this, not many have come forward for skin donations, he said.
The skin bank has been holding awareness programmes in colleges and a few corporate companies,
he said.

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