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Skin Donation procedure

Skin Donation and Skin banking procedure:


Taking Death Certificate and consent from next of kin
Blood Collection
Cleaning with Betadine, Savlon and Sterilium
Skin Harvesting using DERMATOME
Bandaging the body after harvesting

Phase I: Harvesting Skin

Skin donation Procedure:

Skin donation is very simple procedure.

  • Upon death of a possible donor, the next of his/her authorized kin needs to inform on the 24 hour BURNS HELPLINE of National Burns Centre (NBC): 022-27793333
  • Upon receiving such a call, after checking for cause of death and contraindications, the Skin retrieval team will reach the place of death in a specialized Skin Bank vehicle. Death Certificate and Consent of relative is taken.
  • Then, the retrieval team harvests the skin of the donor only from legs, thighs and back with a special instrument called DERMATOME. Only one eighth thickness of the skin is harvested so there is no disfiguring of body at all. It is not even visible to persons who come to pay their homage as after harvesting, the area is bandaged and the donor's body is handed over to the next of the kin.
  • This Procedure takes only about 45 minutes.

Procedure followed for Retrieval: 

  • Shaving, cleaning of the body.
  • Harvesting Skin using dermatome and Preserving skin in 50% Glycerol.

Phase 2: Skin processing in Glycerol

  • All pieces of skin are checked and preserved in 85% Glycerol.
Lubrication of skin in Glycerol

Phase 3: Final processing and preservation of skin

  • The skin strips are trimmed properly, measured and thereafter put in labelled sterile vials containing Glycerol.
  • The sealed vials are then stored in at 4°C to 8°C upto 5 years.
Meshing Skin
Meshing Skin
Final preservation in Walk-in-fridge at
4-8 degree celsius for upto 5 years

Skin Donation Facts :

  • Skin harvesting is done within 6 hours from the time of death.
  • A very thin layer is harvested from both the legs, thighs and the back.
  • There is no bleeding or disfigurement to the body.
  • No MATCHING required for grafting. Long shelf life of 5 years
  • The skin processing charges for cadaveric skin is very low as compared to commercially available synthetic skin substitutes.

Contraindications for Skin Donation :

  • HIV & Hepatitis B & Hepatitis C.
  • STD’S
  • Generalized infection & septicemia (Pneumonia, T.B, Etc)
  • Any kind of skin infection.
  • Malignancy
  • Evidence of skin cancer.
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