SKIN BANK (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Sci and Tech)

News-CRUX-10     27th June 2024        
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Context: The Indian Army has inaugurated a new skin bank facility to provide critical care for soldiers and civilians suffering from severe burn injuries.

Skin Bank

  • About: It is a facility where skin is harvested from qualified donors, processed, and stored at suitable temperatures for preservation for a period of up to five years.
  • Facility: First-of-its-kind facility in Armed Forces Medical Services staffed with plastic surgeons, tissue engineers, and specialized technicians.
  • Operations and Scope: Centralized hub for collection, processing, storage, and distribution of skin grafts, crucial for military medical centres nationwide.
  • Donor Eligibility: Skin can be donated within six hours of death; donors must be at least 18 years old and free from certain health conditions.
  • Storage and Preservation: Skin is preserved in 85% glycerol solution at 4-5 degrees Celsius, ensuring viability for up to five years.

Skin Grafting

  • About: Transplanting a piece of healthy skin to an area of the body with damaged or missing skin is a straightforward procedure.
  • Types of Grafts:
  • Autograft (patient's own skin) and allograft (donor skin from a skin bank) are the main types used.
  • Post-Graft Monitoring: Within two to three weeks post-grafting, doctors assess the acceptance and success of the transplanted skin.
  • Donor Skin Extraction: Donor skin is typically harvested from the back of the thighs and legs, with a thickness of approximately 3mm, covering an area of 1000-3000 square centimeters.
  • Processing Timeline: After extraction, the donor skin undergoes a process that includes cleaning, preparation, and preservation, which takes about five to six weeks to complete before it can be used for grafting.
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