Split-thickness skin grafting for lower extremity ulcerations

Robert S. Kirsner, William H. Eaglstein, Francisco A. Kerdel

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND. Leg ulcers are often refractory to conservative treatment, often mandating the use of skin grafting. OBJECTIVES. This review article discusses skin grafts, with special emphasis on split-thickness grafts for lower extremity ulcerations. METHODS. Historical background, proposed mechanisms of action, biology of skin grafts, techniques for skin grafting, and results after grafting are discussed separately. RESULTS. Skin grafting has been performed for centuries. However, how skin grafts work, whether solely as tissue replacement or, additionally, as a stimulus for healing, is still not fully known. After placement, the grafted skin proceeds through a series of phases by which nutrients are supplied and neovascularization occurs. Adherence to the ulcer bed through interactions between the graft and the ulcer bed appear critical. When meshed split-thickness skin grafts are properly performed, success rates from 50% to 75% have been reported for refractory venous ulcers. CONCLUSIONS. Better understanding of the biologic and clinical aspects of skin grafting should lead to improved patient care. LEARNING OBJECTIVES. After studying this article, participant should be able: 1. To understand the various types of skin grafts. 2. To learn the potential mechanisms of action of how skin grafts work. 3. To appreciate the benefit of skin grafts for lower extremity ulcerations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)85-91
Number of pages7
JournalDermatologic Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Dermatology


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