Dermatome (instrument)

Dermatome (instrument)
Diagram of a dermatome

A dermatome is a surgical instrument used to produce thin slices of skin from a donor area, in order to use them for making skin grafts. One of its main applications is for reconstituting skin areas damaged by grade 3 burns or trauma.

Dermatomes can be operated either manually or electrically. The first drum dermatomes, developed in the 1930s, were manually operated. Afterwards, dermatomes which were operated by air pressure, such as the Brown dermatome, achieved higher speed and precision. Electrical dermatomes are better for cutting out thinner and longer strips of skin with a more homogeneous thickness.


Free-hand knives

Those are manual dermatomes and the term knife or scalpel is used to describe them. Their disadvantages are harvesting of grafts with irregular edges and grafts of variable thickness. Their operator has to be experienced in their use for optimal results.[1]

Types of dermatomes

Side view of a drum dermatome blade (24) removing a slice of skin (38 and 40).

There are several types of dermatomes, usually named after their inventor.


  • Blair/Brown knife.
  • Braithwaite knife.
  • Cobbett knife, a modified version of the Braithwaite knife.
  • Goulian/Weck knife.
  • Humby knife, similar to the Blair knife with the addition of an adjustable roller which controls the thickness of the graft taken.[2]
  • Silver's miniature knife, ideal for the harvesting of small grafts.
  • Watson knife, another modified version of the Braithwaite knife.


  • Padgett dermatome, was the first rotary drum manual dermatome to be devised.
  • Reese dermatome.


  • Brown dermatome, the first with powered rotation to be developed, used mostly for large skin grafts. It is electrically operated.
  • Castroviejo dermatome, also electrically operated, is a precision dermatome with a small head and controllable thickness, which is most used for mucous membrane grafts.


  • Air dermatome, the most commonly used dermatome used worldwide today, used mostly for large skin grafts.


  1. ^ David L. Brown, Gregory H. Borschel, Michigan Manual of Plastic Surgery
  2. ^ Ian A. McGregor, Fundamental Techniques of Plastic Surgery and Their Surgical Applications

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Нужно решить контрольную?

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Dermatome — may refer to: Dermatome (instrument), a surgical instrument used to produce thin slices of skin Dermatome (anatomy), an area of skin that is supplied by a single pair of dorsal roots Dermatome (embryology) Cutis plate, the dorsal portion of the… …   Wikipedia

  • dermatome — ● dermatome nom masculin Territoire cutané en forme de bande, innervé par une racine nerveuse. Instrument chirurgical tranchant utilisé pour prélever des lamelles de peau destinées à être greffées …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Dermatome — (1) A localized area of skin that is has its sensation via a single nerve from a single nerve root of the spinal cord. Shingles (herpes zoster) typically affects one or several isolated dermatomes. (2) A dermatome is also a cutting instrument… …   Medical dictionary

  • dermatome — dermatomic /derr meuh tom ik/, dermatomal, adj. /derr meuh tohm /, n. 1. Anat. an area of skin that is supplied with the nerve fibers of a single, posterior, spinal root. 2. Surg. a mechanical instrument for cutting thin sections of skin for… …   Universalium

  • dermatome — noun a surgical instrument used to cut very thin slices of skin • Hypernyms: ↑surgical instrument …   Useful english dictionary

  • dermatome — noun a) an instrument used surgically to remove a thin slice of skin for grafting b) an area of skin which is innervated by afferent nerve fibers coming to a single posterior spinal root …   Wiktionary

  • dermatome — n. 1) a surgical instrument used for cutting thin slices of skin in some skin grafting operations. 2) that part of the segmented mesoderm in the early embryo that forms the deeper layers of the skin (dermis) and associated tissues. See: somite …   The new mediacal dictionary

  • dermatome — /ˈdɜmətoʊm/ (say dermuhtohm) noun 1. Anatomy an area of the skin that is supplied with the nerve fibres of a single posterior, spinal root. 2. Surgery a mechanical instrument for cutting thin sections of skin for grafting. 3. Embryology the part… …   Australian-English dictionary

  • dermatome —   n. instrument for cutting skin.    ♦ dermatomic, a …   Dictionary of difficult words

  • surgical instrument — noun a medical instrument used in surgery • Hypernyms: ↑medical instrument • Hyponyms: ↑curette, ↑curet, ↑dermatome, ↑dilator, ↑dilater, ↑hemostat, ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”