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Rhino Thandi's pioneering skin graft


Update on Thandi's skin grafting procedure at Kariega Game Reserve

We are pleased to share this update and photographs from Dr William Fowlds following the skin grafting procedure carried out on Thandi's face on Monday 24 June 2013. 

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"Following an hour of surgery Thandi woke with a small dressing over part of her face under which the surgeons have applied three different grafting techniques to areas that were established enough to receive new tissue. A small strip of skin was grafted from behind her ear, another from the keratinised area over the place where her back horn used to be, and then multiple small flakes of skin from the side of her neck. 

This pioneering work will answer many unknown questions about the viability of these grafting techniques which have never been used in a rhino before. The first of which is whether she will tolerate the small pressure dressing which has been attached to the depression in her face. 

A fourth technique, was not applied in yesterday’s procedure as the tissue bed was not considered ready for this method yet. It is hoped that by the next treatment scheduled in 3 to 4 weeks’ time, this may be possible. Dr’s Steenkamp, Marais and Lamont said they were satisfied with their progress and what they had managed to apply at this stage. Kariega monitoring team will keep a watchful eye on her and report back daily to the surgical team on her progress."

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