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What is Autoplasty?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 17, 2024
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Autoplasty is a surgical procedure in which tissue required for repair or reconstruction is taken from the patient's own body. The process of taking donor material from the patient is known as an “autograft,” in contrast with an allograft, which uses donor tissue from another individual. There are a number of advantages to autoplasty which make it an appealing option when it is available for a patient.

When donor material is taken from a patient's body, the risk of rejection goes down considerably. While problems can still occur during the healing process, the patient's body will not identify the donor material as alien and attack it. Taking a graft from the patient's own body also allows a surgeon to use very fresh donor tissue, and to take a graft of the correct size and shape. It eliminates the risk of the transmission of disease, as well; although donor tissue is screened carefully for any signs of problems, diseases can slip through on occasion.

One classic setting in which autoplasty is used is in skin repairs for burn victims. In some cases, a surgeon may cultivate skin on the patient by inserting an inflatable balloon under the skin and gradually inflating it, encouraging the patient's body to produce more skin which can be used in grafting. Another common use for autoplasty is in gum grafting, where donor material is taken from elsewhere in the mouth to address receding gums. Autoplasty can also include the use of muscle tissue, tendons, bone, and so forth from the patient's body.

Healing time for the patient can be prolonged by the two different surgical sites for the donor tissue and the site of the reconstruction or repair. However, this is balanced by the fact that the use of an autograft cuts down on the risks such as rejection and infection associated with such surgeries.

In an autoplasty procedure is an option for a patient, a surgeon will discuss the procedure with the patient, going over the details so that the patient understands what will happen. Patients can learn about where the graft will be taken from, how long the surgery should take, and how they will need to care for the surgical and graft sites after the surgery. It is important for patients to understand the care process in detail before surgery, so that they can increase their chance of successful healing by taking proper care of themselves from the start.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGeek researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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