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Skin grafting scissors with case, Europe, 1896-1905

Scissors, like this nickel-plated steel pair, were used to cut skin from one part of the body to replace severely damaged skin in another part. However, the thickness of the skin cut depended on the skill of the surgeon. Skin-grafting is a type of surgery carried out in hospitals to treat burns and other injuries or to replace skin lost during operations. Often referred to as plastic surgery, these techniques were greatly advanced in the twentieth century, especially during and after the Second World War.

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Glossary: burns

tissue damage caused by such agents as heat, cold, chemicals, electricity, ultraviolet light, or nuclear radiation. A first-degree burn affects only the outer layer (epidermis) of the skin. In a second-degree burn both the epidermis and the underlying dermis are damaged. A third-degree burn involves damage or destruction of the skin to its full depth and damage to the tissues beneath. Burns cause swelling and blistering, due to loss of plasma from damaged blood vessels.

Glossary: skin grafting

A process to move skin from one part of the body to another. Usually carried out as treatment for burns or other extensive skin wounds.

Glossary: plastic surgery

A surgical speciality dealing with the restoration or construction of the body. Often used to refer to elective surgery done for aesthetic reasons.

Glossary: skin grafting scissors

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