Pippie’s skin graft a success

2012-06-19 06:59

The skin graft on Limpopo toddler Pippie Kruger, who sustained third degree burns to 80% of her body, has been a success, surgeons say.

“Overall we can say it’s a success,” plastic surgeon Dr Ridwan Mia told reporters in Johannesburg yesterday.

“It went quite well. It took us a lot longer than we thought.”

He said surgeons needed to be extremely careful when removing Pippie’s initial dressings.

The toddler was stable throughout the operation and doing well, Mia said.

Dressings would be changed every two to three days, and Pippie would be woken from sedation gradually during the course of the week, he said.

Mia said 90% of the skin, which was grown in a laboratory in the United States and then flown to South Africa, took. There were only isolated “islands” where it did not attach.

He said 90% was a deliberately conservative estimate.

The operation theatre had to be kept hot to ensure Pippie’s temperature stayed within a satisfactory region.

The three-year-old’s parents, Erwin and Anice Kruger, were extremely happy with the results.

“We are ecstatic. It’s an incredible feeling,” Anice said.

Sheets of Pippie’s own skin were grown using skin taken from her groin.

The graft was performed at Johannesburg’s Garden City Clinic, where the child had been in the high care unit for the last six months.

It was the first time this type of advanced skin graft was performed in Africa. It has been performed in the United States and Europe.

Kruger has been hospitalised since a bottle of flammable liquid exploded in her father’s hands and she was covered in flames at a braai in December.


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