Not enough local skin donors: SGH

PHOTO: Not enough local skin donors: SGH

According to the Singapore General Hospital (SGH), skin donations are at critically low levels.

Local skin donations account for only 20 per cent of skin used in operations here, said SGH.

Healthy skin is used to treat burn victims. The healthy skin is grafted onto burns to serve as a "biological bandage".

Skin grafts reduce mortality rate from burns from 45 per cent to 16 per cent.

The procedure also reduces hospital stays by about 10 days.

Donated skin is not permanently transplanted onto a person.

Rather, it serves as a temporary "bandage" to reduce dehydration and prevent infection. It also helps relieve pain and helps the wound to heal.

SGH's skin bank depends on international sources to meet demand here. However, demand for the skin to treat burns still outweighs supply.

Those who are keen to donate their skin usually do so via their next-of-kin upon death.

Skin is typically taken from the back, buttocks and lower limbs of the donor within 15 hours of death.