The skin bank has as its main functions the harvesting, processing, preservation, and supply of fine human skin allografts for burn treatment centers and polytrauma. The tissue is distributed to all burn treatment units of the country, is governed by the National and Regional Center for transplants. Skin donation can be made from individuals who have died with the diagnosis of brain death or cardiac arrest.
The skin-harvesting involves removing thin slices of skin from the donor. The processing of the skin begins while the donor is still in the operating room. Skin processing continues in the skin bank and can be divided into three distinct phases. After each stage of processing, skin fragments are collected for microbiological analysis. The skin bank follows international guidelines, whereby the tissue acceptability criteria take into account the degree of pathogenicity of the organism and its potential to produce toxins.
Storage of the skin can be accomplished in two distinct ways, each with a direct relationship to the type of processing performed: glycerol under refrigeration or cryopreservation. The release and distribution of allogeneic skin for clinical use only occur after certification of tissue sterility. The tissue is distributed to all burn treatment units of the country, is governed by the National and Regional Center for transplants. The main clinical indications for the use of allogeneic skin are deep and extensive burns and large skin defects caused by trauma. One of the most critical factors in handling and repairing lesions in patients with major skin loss is adequate coverage of the damaged area to prevent further blood loss and opportunistic bacterial infections (Dermatology in Public Health Environments pp 1125-1130).