Rs 6.579 crore has been sanctioned to set up the skin bank and to upgrade the existing burns unit at the Medical College Hospital in Thiruvananthapuram.

Kerala to set up its first skin bank in Thiruvananthapuram
news Health Tuesday, December 04, 2018 - 18:59

Skin donation and skin transplantation will soon become common like any other organ transplantation in Kerala if all goes as per plan. In what could be the first in the state, a skin bank will be set up at the Government Medical College Hospital, Thiruvananthapuram, to preserve donated skin and to perform skin transplantation surgeries. It will be among the few centres in south India for the same. The skin bank is expected to be operational in a year.

On Monday, Minister for Health KK Shylaja had announced administrative sanction of Rs 6.579 crore for setting up the skin bank and also to upgrade existing burns unit at the Medical College Hospital. Out of this, Rs 2.175 crore has been sanctioned for the skin bank and for constructing a Burns ICU and Rs 1.290 crore for setting up equipment at the Burns ICU. As part of the first phase, Rs 2.079 crore has been sanctioned.

According to Dr Prem Lal AP, Unit Head of Medical College Hospital Burns Unit, there are only a few skin banks in the south and patients who need skin transplantation surgery have to go to Chennai for this treatment.

Speaking to TNM, he says, “Those who lose a portion of skin due to burns won’t even have skin on other areas of their bodies to be transplanted. Here comes the importance of preserving donated skin. The skin taken from brain-dead patients can be preserved in the bank. Of course, the skin donation can also happen only with the consent of the families of the brain-dead patients.”

Dr Prem Lal adds, “Unlike organs like kidney, liver or heart, skin can be preserved for six weeks. The skin transplantation surgery will be free of cost. Private hospitals, on an average, charge Rs 50 for a square centimetre skin, which is not affordable for poor patients. But, it becomes more challenging to get preserved skin.”

The Health Minister also said that the strengthening of the Burns Unit and setting up of the skin bank is for providing immediate treatment for burns inflicted people and to bring them back to life.  

Ten beds with modern facilities, ventilator facility, will be arranged at the Burns ICU. There will also be an eight-bed step-down unit. The skin bank will be set up with biosafety cabinet, autoclave, centrifuge, optical shaker, Bio-Oxygen Demand Incubator and walk-in refrigerator.

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