Chennai: With Tamil Nadu leading the country in cadaver donation, Stanley Hospital’s initiative to open a skin bank, will prove beneficial to a number of patients in desperate need of treatment following infections caused due to burns, ulcers and other similar diseases.
The bank, to be opened on August 29, is a first of its kind effort in the public sector of India “The skin which we take from cadaver or live donors can be stored for five years. Firstly, we will rule out HIV, hepatitis and other infections, following which we will take the skin from the back and put it into a glycerol solution to keep it viable,” said G. R. Ratnavel, head, cosmetology department, Stanley medical College and Hospital, while explaining the procedure.
The skin is tested again through radiation using ultra violet rays to see it becomes sterile, following which it is put in a shaking incubator to ensure the glycerol gets totally molded to the skin. “We will store it in a refrigerator at – 4 degrees where it can stay for five years,” he said.
“Any ulcers can be closed with the skin. If a person suffers 40 per cent burns, it can lead to infection and death. However, this temporary cadaver skin coating will reduce the death rate significantly,” the doctor said.
The skin, which serves as a natural barrier, tends to fall off after 15 to 20 days, by which time the new natural skin would have started to grow. “If a wound is not covered, it can lead to infections. Skin is the most ideal dressing as it provides a water proof covering and prevents the invasion of exogenous bacteria, loss of water by evaporation and pain from exposed nerve endings,” said cosmetologist K. Mohan.
“In our department alone, we have so many cases where skin is required. Every week, we have around 10 patients coming in with Vasculitis and ulcers, two with burns and drug ulcers each, and around six to seven cases of Bullous disorders, all for skin replacement. The availability of skin would therefore prove useful,” said Ratnavel.
“Stanley Hospital is already known for liver transplant, treatment for burn victims, and hand and reconstructive surgeries, while Madras Medical College is known for heart transplants. It is essential to have state of the art facilities in government hospitals and this bank is a good initiative,” said a health official. The skin bank, which has received recognition under the Transplantation of Human Organs Act 1994, was an initiative that was long pending.
Boy with giant mole recovering at Stanley
Dhanush, 12-year-old boy from Dharmapuri, who was admitted to Stanley Hospital last month, with a giant mole on his back, is on road to recovery.
“The giant nevi had left a very large black mark on the child’s back. Any big mole can turn cancerous and therefore, it was essential that we acted quickly.
Following treatment, he is fine now and will get a laser treatment done on Friday,” said G. R. Ratnavel, head, department of cosmetology, Stanley Medical College and Hospital.
“He will require five sittings of laser treatment to remove any chance of further dangers and will therefore have to come in every month. We had removed the fold of skin which was redundant,” the doctor said,
A picture of Dhanush in a newspaper had caught the eye of Chief Minister J. Jayalalitha, who directed he be treated at Stanley Hospital. Health Minister C. Vijaya Baskar and Health Secretary J. Radhakrishnan visited the boy at Stanley Hospital on July 20.