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Times of India
26 April 2010
India, Pune

Sassoon to Get Skin Bank Soon Move Aimed At Addressing Shortage of Skin Donors
Pune: Patients with severe burn injuries who need postoperative skin graft can have easy access to donated skin.

“A proposal to start a skin bank at the Sassoon has been drafted and it will be sent to the state government for approval,” said Arun Jamkar, dean of government run Sassoon general hospital. If approved, the National Burn Centre, Mumbai, will extend technical know­how and training support to the bank, added Jamkar.

“Hospitals in Pune always face the crunch of skin donors. The skin bank is aimed at addressing the needs of these patients. It will also create awareness about skin donation, which is important for timely treatment,” said Jamkar.

Skin taken from corpses helps save lives of burns victims, but the general awareness about it is so low that doctors are forced to resort to costlier and tedious procedures, said Jamkar. “Skin grafting does not need to match tissue types between donor and recipient. Any person’s skin can be grafted onto anyone. The graft is a temporary barrier that protects the patient from fatal infections; eventually the patient’s own skin regenerates,” said cosmetic surgeon Sunil Keswani, also an acting medical director of National Burn Centre.

Since skin grafts are expensive and difficult to procure from living donors; skin from the dead is easier to use. Skin grafted from bodies within 12 hours of death can be preserved in a skin bank, added Keswani.

Besides the bank, the burns ward too will get a new look. “We will renovate the burns ward. There will be an operation theatre on the ground floor and 25 stainless steel cots will soon be placed in the ward. The Pune Municipal Corporation has granted an amount of Rs 10 lakh for renovating the ward,” said Jamkar.

“There has been the much required awareness about eye, blood and kidney donation among people over the years, but not nearly enough on lifesaving gift of skin,” said Keswani.

Donated skin finds use in orthopaedic, cosmetic and plastic surgeries and, most importantly in treating patients with burn injuries. “A patient dies because of an infection that occurs when the skin barrier is broken in a burn accident. Such patients can be saved if the barrier is created once again by providing new skin,” said Keswani.

The skin bank, if started, will be the second such bank in city after the one that was launched at the Poona Hospital and Research Centre last year.

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