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October 1965

Histology of Healing Split-Thickness, Full-Thickness Autogenous Skin Grafts and Donor Sites

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Surgery, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry.

Arch Surg. 1965;91(4):658-670. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1965.01320160112027

ALTHOUGH skin grafting is an ancient art, the processes of graft healing have been carefully observed and reported only during the past 90 years. The several histologic studies, however, have suffered from a variety of defects. Most have described only a few grafts or have reported on the events of only the first few days after grafting. In 1954, Gillman et al1 reported the most extensive study. Even this work, based on observations of Thiersch split-thickness grafts placed on six human volunteers and followed up as long as 80 days, had several shortcomings. Split-thickness grafts were grafted onto Thiersch donor sites, thus introducing a very artificial situation. Multiple grafts were placed on a relatively small area of the forearm; the size of the biopsy was limited, and it is probable that the biopsies influenced subsequent healing.

This paper reports in detail the histologic changes which occur in donor sites