Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Skin Transplant

Today was the day I received my new skin. I haven't written about it much because I wasn't sure if I'd end up getting the transplant.

There's one more reason I haven't written about it. But I'll get to that in a second.

The wound has healed extremely fast with the wound vacuum. I wore this cumbersome, awkward, annoying device for three short weeks. Good riddance.

My ankle is a bit misshapen due to some edema buildup from yesterday. I also have a small blister next to the wound.

Now onto my new skin.

This is it. That is my skin transplant. Before it was applied to my wound, it was stabbed multiple times with a scalpel. By injuring the skin, it triggers the cells to start healing by releasing proteins, like cytokine. That allows it to incorporate with my own skin much faster.

There's also less of a chance of my body rejecting the transplant since the new skin doesn't have any sweat glands or hair follicles.

The skin is held on with steristrips along the edges and covered with tons of bandages.

So. Where do they get this skin from?

Baby foreskin.

That is not a typo. I've known about this for the last three weeks. When we first heard where it came from, Brooke thought she heard, "it's for the skin."

Now, before you go crazy and start giggling like a school girl (like I have been since I found out), you need to understand a few things. This isn't a direct transplant of foreskin. There wasn't a new mom and dad in the other room waiting for me when I went into the doctor's office today.

The process is actually kind of interesting. They remove two cells from the foreskin after it is removed from a normal, healthy baby. One is from the outermost layer of the skin -- the epidermis. The second cell is harvested form the middle layer of skin -- the dermis. They grow this skin in a petri dish until it's about 5 cm in diameter.

The company, Apligraf, has been doing this for about eleven years and about 200,000 patients have received their product.

I've been warned that this thing will start to stink. At first we shrugged it off, but we were warned multiple times that my ankle will develop a funk that requires windows to be opened and rooms to be evacuated.

I can't wait!


  1. If this is going to stink you're going to have to find another way to work. I don't want you in my car for the 20 minute ride TWICE A DAY!!!!
    Forget about it.


  2. Oh Tony. I can't wait to hear what Nick has to say about this.

  3. On top of the regular stink?


  4. Brooke, one word. Mentholatum. Terry

  5. I'm too much of a lady to make the comments Michael and I have been discussing about your skin transplant. But we thought of some good ones! lol Love you and hope the healing goes well.