Your Child's Recovery
Skin grafts are small sections of healthy skin removed from one part of the body (donor site) and put on another part. Grafts can be used to treat skin damaged by burns, infection, or other injury.
Your child will have a bandage over the skin graft. The area may be sore for 1 to 2 weeks. Keep the area of the skin graft dry while it heals, unless your doctor gives you other instructions. If you can, prop up the area of your child's body that has the skin graft. Keeping it raised will reduce swelling and fluid buildup that can cause problems with the graft.
Your child also will have a bandage on the donor site. The donor site can hurt during recovery. Your child may have a special type of bandage on it to help reduce pain. Your child may get a shot of long-lasting pain medicine in the area.
If the graft was placed on your child's legs, arms, hands, or feet, your child may need physiotherapy to prevent scar tissue from limiting movement. This therapy is very important. It may include wearing splints and doing stretches and range-of-motion exercises. These may be painful, but they help your child to heal properly.
It may take months for your child to regain some feeling in the grafted area. The feeling will be different than it was before the injury.
Your child may not have sweat glands in the skin graft area. If the grafted area is large, this may make it hard for the area to cool off when your child is hot. The grafted area may not have oil glands. This can make the skin graft dry and flaky. After the graft heals, you may need to use lotion to keep the skin moist. The skin graft may not grow hair.
Your child's care team will check the skin graft often to make sure that it's healing well. Sometimes the skin graft doesn't work. If this happens, your child may need another one.
This care sheet gives you a general idea about how long it will take for your child to recover. But each child recovers at a different pace. Follow the steps below to help your child get better as quickly as possible.
Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.