On average, it costs $440 for Meng's treatment
- Impact on patient's life
- Cultural or regional significance
What kinds of symptoms do patients experience before receiving treatment?
A variety of injuries related to extensive skin loss can necessitate a skin graft. These include large open wounds, infection, and third degree burns. Additionally, surgeries such as removal of skin cancers require skin grafts to heal.
What is the impact on patients’ lives of living with these conditions?
Patients who have injuries that are in need of a skin graft are in compromised health and at risk of infection from bacteria or viruses entering through the open wound.
What cultural or regional factors affect the treatment of these conditions?
Road traffic accidents— particularly with motorcycles—are a common cause of injuries in Cambodia and can often result in surgeries that involve a skin graft. The use of open stoves additionally can increase risk of burns, especially in children.
- Impact on patient's life
- Risks and side-effects
What does the treatment process look like?
Skin grafting involves covering the affected area with healthy skin from a donor site. In a split-thickness skin graft, the top two layers of the donor skin, or the graft, are transplanted and attached by staples or stitches, and the donor-area is covered with a dressing. For injuries with deeper tissue loss, a full-thickness skin graft may be used, which transplants a full flap of skin, including the muscles and blood supply, and is a more complicated procedure.
Prior to the skin transfer, debridement may be needed to remove dead or damaged skin. Following a skin graft surgery, patients will remain at the hospital for 1-2 weeks for follow-up care.
What is the impact of this treatment on the patient’s life?
By replacing damaged or missing skin with a skin graft, the patient’s risk of disease-causing bacteria or viruses entering the body are decreased; the graft also aids in fluid loss prevention and temperature regulation, improving the overall health of the patient.
What potential side effects or risks come with this treatment?
One risk of skin grafting is graft failure, caused commonly by blood collecting in the tissues, which necessitates a repeat graft. Other risks include infection, chronic pain, and wound contracture. Potential side effects are scarring, skin discoloration, or reduced skin sensation.
How accessible is treatment in the area? What is the typical journey like for a patient to receive care?
Injuries in need of skin grafts require surgical operation; affordable surgical care is not very accessible, and so patients travel as much as twelve hours to reach Children's Surgical Centre for free surgery, arriving by bus, motorbike, or taxi.
What are the alternatives to this treatment?
The skin grafts performed at Children’s Surgical Centre are autographs, or grafts of the patient’s own skin. Alternatives to this include artificial skin grafts, which are used when patients do not have enough skin to cover the exposed area.