IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


27th June, 2024 Science and Technology


Source: IndiaToday

Disclaimer: Copyright infringement not intended.


  • The Indian Army has recently established a skin bank facility to aid in the treatment of severe burn injuries and other skin-related conditions.
  • This facility, a first-of-its-kind within the Armed Forces Medical Services, will serve military personnel and their families, providing a critical resource for skin grafting procedures.


What is a Skin Bank?

  • A skin bank is a facility where donated skin from deceased individuals is collected, processed, and stored for future use in medical treatments, primarily for burn victims.
  • The skin can be preserved for up to 5 years under controlled conditions.

Key Features of the Indian Army's Skin Bank

  • Centralised Hub: The facility acts as a centralised hub for the collection, processing, storage, and distribution of skin grafts.
  • Specialised Staff: Staffed with trained medical professionals, including plastic surgeons, tissue engineers, and specialised technicians.
  • Storage Conditions: Skin is preserved in an 85% glycerol solution at temperatures between 4-5 degrees Celsius.

Skin Donation Process

  • Eligibility: Any individual over the age of 18, except those with conditions like AIDS, Hepatitis B & C, STDs, skin cancer, active skin diseases, and septicemia, can donate skin.
  • Collection: Skin must be donated within 6 hours of death.
  • Processing: The donated skin is tested for infections (HIV, viral markers, Hepatitis), processed, and preserved.
  • Storage: Processed skin can be stored for up to 5 years.

Importance of Skin Grafting

  • Skin grafting is a surgical procedure where a piece of healthy skin is transplanted to an area where the skin is damaged or missing.
  • This procedure significantly improves survival rates and healing times for burn victims and can reduce hospital stays and treatment costs.

Procedure for Skin Grafting

  • Preparation: The damaged area is cleaned and prepared for the graft.
  • Harvesting: A thin layer of healthy skin is removed from the donor site.
  • Transplantation: The harvested skin is placed on the damaged area and secured.
  • Healing: The graft is monitored to ensure proper adhesion and integration.

Benefits of the Skin Bank

  • Immediate Availability: Provides a ready supply of skin for emergencies.
  • Reduces Mortality: Skin grafts can significantly reduce death rates in severe burn cases.
  • Enhanced Recovery: Promotes better healing and faster recovery for patients.
  • Cost-Effective: Shortens hospital stays and lowers overall treatment costs.
  • Geographic Flexibility: Donated skin can be transported across the country to help patients in need.

Types of Skin Grafts

  • Autografts
    • Description: Skin taken from the patient's own body.
    • Advantages: Reduced risk of rejection and infection.
    • Disadvantages: Requires a donor site, which creates another wound.
  • Allografts
    • Description: Skin taken from another human donor, usually a cadaver.
    • Advantages: No need for an additional wound on the patient.
    • Disadvantages: Higher risk of rejection and infection, temporary solution as the body eventually rejects it.
  • Xenografts
    • Description: Skin taken from a different species, usually pigs.
    • Advantages: Readily available and no additional wound on the patient.
    • Disadvantages: Temporary solution, higher risk of infection and rejection.
  • Synthetic Grafts
    • Description: Man-made materials used to cover the wound.
    • Advantages: No risk of disease transmission, customizable to the patient's needs.
    • Disadvantages: May not integrate as well as natural skin, potential for long-term complications.




Q. Skin grafting is a vital technique in reconstructive surgery, offering solutions for patients with significant skin loss. Comment. (10 Marks)