At the meeting of the New York State Medical Association, held Oct. 15 and 17, 1896, I read a paper the title of which was "The Vitality of Cutaneous Epithelium After Its Separation from the Body." Believing the subject of great surgical importance, and having additional testimony of interest, I decided to briefly submit my experience at this meeting.
The question of the "limit of vitality" of skin separated from the body has been the subject of a great deal of experimentation. The longest period of which I can find record is ninety-six hours, or four days.1
Experiments have been made2 to ascertain the vitality of skin removed from the cadaver. Skin grafting has been successfully done with epidermis removed from the thigh six hours after death. Skin taken from amputated3 limbs has been found to make good material. After numerous trials, thirty-six hours was found to
LUSK ZJ. SOME ADDITIONAL FACTS RELATING TO SKIN GRAFTING.. JAMA. 1897;XXIX(16):782-783. doi:10.1001/jama.1897.02440420016002e