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redthunder 05-13-2010 08:00 AM

Skin grafts for severe chemical burns
I am a writer doing some research on skin grafts for a novel. Unfortunately, while I found plenty of information on the history of skin grafts as well as some very general information on the process, it isn't enough for me to believably write a character who has lived through such surgery.

The character in question was scarred in a sulfuric acid attack. The acid was thrown on her face; a hand she was holding up at the time was also affected.

My questions:

I read that full-thickness grafts are typically used for the hands and face to improve appearance and to increase mobility. Which are the best donor sites for face and hand grafts? Is there a limit to how much skin can be grafted? The character is fifteen and very thin for her age; how much of a factor would that play?

How does color matching work? Is donor skin chosen based on it's similarity in texture or color (or potential color?) first? And how would the color of lips be matched? Would they be matched at all?

How much sensitivity can she expect from grafted skin? Do the nerves in the grafted skin grow and/or attach to the nervous system at the graft site? What about lips, which are among the most sensitive skin surfaces on the body -- is it possible for the lips to ever have anything close to their original sensitivity?

If cartilage is necessary, would it come from the ear? If so, would the ear look damaged, or is there a way to remove the cartilage without it being immediately visible?

Knuckles: how does grafting work on an area that needs much more than usual mobility? How would the end product look in such an instance?

Thank you for your help!

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