Skintransplants and skinflaps
In plastic surgery the technique of tissue transfer is very often used in case of skin defects that are so big that the wound will not heal spontaneously or will result in a severe functional deficit. Skin transplantations are performed with a very superficial thin part of healthy skin (donorsite) to cover a defect that is not very deep. The donorsite will heal spontaneously, usually within 14 days.
In case of very deep tissue defect with exposed bone/blood vessels or tendons, a skin transplant will not do the job as it can not grow in. In such cases skin flaps are used, consisting of skin and underlying fat tissue with the accompanying blood vessels (artery and vein). These vessels are anastomosed with microsurgical techniques in the defect.
Why treatment with medical tattooing?
Patients may, due to various causes, have to deal with skin transplants or skin flaps throughout the whole body. Burns, oncologic surgery (breast cancer) are some examples. These transplants and flaps have often a different color than the surrounding “healthy” skin, especially in the face.
Through the use of medical tattoo, we can reduce the color difference as much as possible and we can make any hardened scars softer (same principle as in scars after burns, see Burns).
Below an example of a patient who has been treated with medical tattoo :
Facial skin flap – before treatment with medical tattooing
Facial skin flap – after treatment with medical tattooing