There are alternatives to skin grafts and flaps in some cases
Letting it heal on its own
A partial-thickness burn or wound may heal without a graft or flap but a full-thickness burn or wound will most likely form thick scar tissue that contracts. When scar tissue contracts, it can prevent normal movement around the area and may also be unsightly. Scar tissue lacks many of the normal structures and functions of skin, such as a sense of touch, sweat glands, oil glands and hair.
Negative pressure wound therapy
By applying a special dressing to your wound and using negative atmospheric pressure, it may heal by itself without the need for surgery. This process involves regular (and often painful) dressing changes and being hooked up to a small pump to reduce atmospheric pressure in the wound. Negative pressure wound therapy isn’t suitable for all wounds but it may help your wound heal faster and shorten your hospital stay. It is also used to prepare recipient sites for grafting.
Scientists have been working on a number of alternatives to skin grafting, but none of them has been found to be as practical as using your own skin, except in special circumstances.
Skin grown in a lab, skin from cadavers and from animals have all been tested but so far, your own skin harvested from another part of your body (or from your identical twin) is still the best option.
The exception is where a burn or wound covers a large area and/or there isn’t a suitable donor site. In this case, one option your doctor may recommend is using bioengineered skin. Brands of bioengineered skin available in Australia include Integra®, TransCyte®, Apligraf® and Alloderm®