Skin Graft Surgery for Road Rash Injuries

If a rider is thrown from the bike or ends up underneath it and slides across the pavement, it could cause road rash, an abrasive injury that severely damages the skin. Treatment might not be necessary for minor abrasions. But if there are large open wounds or a significant amount of skin loss, it could require skin graft surgery to repair the skin.

Types of Skin Graft Procedures for Road Rash Injuries

Debridement may be required prior to any procedure. Open wounds may have dead tissue or debris like dirt and pebbles from the road that needs to be removed before performing a skin graft procedure.

A skin graft requires removing a patch of healthy skin from one area of the body (called the donor site) and attaching (or transplanting) it to the injured area. The donor site is typically a part of the body hidden by clothing. The skin is then spread over the wound and either held in place with stitches, staples or dressing.

A split-thickness (partial) skin graft is the most common type that patients undergo. In a split-thickness skin graft, the top (epidermis) layer and the layer underneath (dermis) are transplanted.

Areas of the body that may serve as the donor site include the: 

  • thighs;
  • arms;
  • stomach;
  • back; and
  • buttocks. 

A full-thickness (complete) skin graft is needed when road rash injuries are severe. With a full-thickness skin graft, not only are the top two layers of skin transplanted, but so are the muscles and blood supply. Recovery is much longer for this type of procedure.

Discuss other details of the surgeries with your doctor or surgeon so you fully understand the procedure and the required recovery process afterward.

Complications Associated with Skin Grafts

All surgeries come with risks, including problems with anesthesia. There is the risk of bleeding and infection, for example. Both could be life-threatening.

Another complication that could impact the patient for a lifetime is scarring. Although the goal is to repair the skin, it won’t necessarily look the same as it previously did. This can be challenging when road rash injuries occur to the face, legs, and arms.

For upper arm injuries, according to the Orthopaedic Proceedings journal, successful debridement is the key to success in skin grafting as well as amputation. If the “bed” where the new skin or limb must be attached isn’t infection-free and properly debrided then the skin cover won’t look right and the functionality may be compromised.

Seeking Compensation When a Motorcycle Accident Results in Severe or Disfiguring Injuries

When road rash requires skin grafts and it leaves the rider with permanent scarring, it’s important to consult with an attorney. Riders who suffer serious injuries may pursue compensation from an at-fault driver who caused the accident.

There could be compensation available for more than the medical bills which are likely to be substantial with these types of injuries. The injured rider could seek compensation for lost wages while hospitalized and recovering.

Besides lost wages, riders may pursue monies for: 

  • pain and suffering;
  • disability;
  • mental anguish;
  • reduced quality of life; and
  • disfigurement. 

It’s important to fully understand the implications of one’s injuries to ensure the amount sought in a claim is not only fair but full. There could be future medical bills and additional missed time from work that also needs to be addressed. This is why it’s best to talk with an attorney, who can consider all forms of compensation.

Don’t delay learning more about your rights and the options that could be available. Call Gacovino, Lake & Associates today to set up your consultation. Either call us at 800-550-0000 or set up your consultation with a lawyer by filling out our online contact form.

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