Two Years After My Skin Graft Surgery

It has now been two years since I underwent skin graft surgery in Istanbul. A skin graft surgery was supposed to help improve the appearance of my scars. This was quite a big procedure where I had to stay abroad for two weeks before I was strong enough to fly home. My life changed with this surgery. It gave me a chance to be myself without being constantly reminded of the past. And it removed the awkward stares and inappropriate questions from strangers.

Doubts and Fears Before the Skin Graft Surgery

When I decided to have the thin skin graft surgery I didn’t know what to expect. How long will the post-operative period last? How will the healing go? What will the end results look like? Will I be in a lot of pain? I had a lot of questions and worries and little time to process it all. Both the logistical and the emotional challenges of what I was about to embark on were a lot to take in.

In my book, I write about every detail you have to take into account when undergoing skin graft surgery. This includes planning before, during, and after the procedure. I also give some practical tips about arranging your stay and transport between the hospital, surgeon’s clinic, and your hotel. My book Living with Scars was written with the intention of helping others in a similar situation who want to have skin graft surgery. I wanted to provide as much information as possible and explain the steps of the entire process.

The Outcome of My Skin Graft Surgery

Two years down the line I have so much gratitude for all the specialists that have been involved in my surgery. I’m grateful for my partner who has been there for me through it all. He encouraged me before departure and throughout the entire procedure and the post-operative period. I am happy that I embarked on this journey. It took a lot of courage, planning, perseverance, and last but not least, a financial commitment.

So what are the results of my thin skin graft surgery? The skin graft now camouflages my scars and these have become much less recognizable. The skin is not the same as the surrounding healthy skin, of course, but I would say the surgery has been a success overall. My arm looks like it had been operated on, but there is no way to know why and how. People are less likely to make judgments about what was beneath the skin graft.

You can see the before and after photos of my arm here.

Below is a photo that shows the outcome of the thin skin patch skin graft:

self harm scar skin graft
24 months after the Thin Skin Patch Skin Graft surgery

Skin Graft Donor Area

There is however another part of my body that now carries a new scar. This is the donor area, which is where a layer of skin was harvested from. The healing process depends on each individual and some people’s donor area is barely visible. However, in my case it is quite noticeable – it’s a much whiter color than the surrounding healthy skin. But because the donor area is located on my thigh it is very easy to cover it with clothing.

Below is a photo that shows the outcome of the donor area:

Skin graft donor area
Skin Graft Donor area 24 months after the surgery

Preparation and Trust

Before, during, and after my skin graft surgery I had to work on my state of mind. Before embarking on a surgery that will have a significant change to your physical appearance you need to prepare yourself for the procedure, both physically and mentally. This includes a lot of positive thinking, building a strong determination, and an optimistic outlook. It is also important to follow all instructions prior to the procedure in order to get the best possible outcome. Make sure you are well informed and know what to expect.

During the healing period, you will need to rest almost all day and you might find this challenging. Having someone with you every day will help you stay strong and make the first two weeks of recovery much easier. They can help with cooking, cleaning, and personal hygiene.

Finding things to occupy your mind with, and staying optimistic throughout this period is vital for the healing process. Managing your expectations during this time will help you come to terms with the future outcome. The healing of the skin is completed after two years, therefore you will need a lot of patience to trust the process.

Acceptance and Moving On

Finally, moving on from your past, from your scars, is the final step of this journey. It’s something everyone wants and is in constant search of. How do you move past your scars? How do you move on from your past, from the things that don’t serve you anymore? I can confirm that skin graft surgery is what enabled me to do just that.

But your journey doesn’t end there. Accepting your body and skin is a lifelong practice and commitment, therefore this journey continues past the surgery. The surgery helps you move on from your scars, that is certainly true. But the inner work is for you to continue every day, for as long as you need in order to arrive at true peace and acceptance.

I write more about the psychological impact of scars and surgery in my book Living with Scars.

If you find my blog useful and would like to support me you can buy me a coffee! I would really appreciate it. Any contribution you make will help me to continue running this website.

Wishing you all the love and acceptance on your journey,


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4 thoughts on “Two Years After My Skin Graft Surgery”

  1. Hi Iโ€™d like to ask if the skin graft donor site (thigh) the skin looks quite raised, is it noticeable in person and does that part of your skin feel different to the original skin surrounding it? I am looking for this same surgery so I have a lot of questions on my mind about it and you seem to be the only person I have found whoโ€™s gone through with the surgery and posted your story/pictures online, so I can definitely relate! Also my scars are in a similar placement to yours so Iโ€™d like to ask what the cost of the surgery was if you could please, I have read through your whole story and I am so fascinated by it, thank you for sharing it๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ™๐Ÿผ it has really calmed down my overthinking about my scars etc knowing that someone else relates as I have been searching online for months now regarding this and Iโ€™m so glad Iโ€™ve come across your page

    1. Hi Yasmine, thank you for your message and I’m glad you find my website helpful! The reason I share everything is to help others so your words mean a lot! The graph is not raised, but the edges are slightly noticeable – this depends on each individual though, every skin is different. I do answer a lot of these questions in my e-Book which is available to purchase here:
      You can find every detail about my journey to this surgeon, the accommodation, the process before, during, and after surgery, the recovery, and down to the detail of which apps to use to order food and taxis. I also write about how I coped with everything, as it is as much of a physical as an emotional journey too!
      Every purchase means a lot to me, as I’ve poured everything I know into this book to help others in their journey. The website upkeep costs quite a bit and this helps me keep the website running!
      I wish you all the best in your journey and please know you are not alone ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿผ

      1. Hi, thank you so much for replying! I am thinking of purchasing your e-book as I am definitely considering going ahead with the surgery possibly this year or the start of next year so I would like to get all the details that I need, i would like to ask if prices of the surgery are listed in your e-book? As this is a big thing for me and a huge commitment, none of my family members are aware of any of this so because you have gone through the whole procedure already, I would like to ask if it would be possible to get all this done alone? Thank you ๐Ÿ˜Š

        1. Hi Yasmine, the cost of the surgery is not specified in the book because prices can change as years go by (inflation etc.). Because each case is different the duration and the complexity of the surgery will vary and with that the price will vary too. When you contact the surgeon you send him photos of your scars and he will let you know the costs of the procedure. It would be best to have someone there with you, however, if your surgery area is smaller then you might be able to go through this alone as your movements will not be too restricted. You can always order food deliveries, and if you are staying in a hotel then you always can dial the reception for anything. It is best to ask the surgeon directly, as he has done a lot of these procedures. Good luck with everything! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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