Heather, from what I can find out, excess skin that is surgically removed can be "donated", as in "given away for free", like a blood donation. However, I haven't been able to find out anything about being paid for excess skin donation with free plastic surgeon's fees or hospital costs. I've researched and researched, and haven't found any organization, hospital, or doctor who is willing to swap reconstructive surgery in return for excess skin. I too welcome any insight and links!
NSMC Plastic Surgeon First in Mass. to Offer Skin Donation
By Kevin Ronningen
Beverly, Mass. – North Shore Medical Center (NSMC) plastic surgeon Dr. Beverly M. Shafer is collaborating with the Musculoskeletal Transplant Foundation (MTF) to offer patients the opportunity to donate excess skin following body contouring procedures after weight loss.
MTF’s recently instituted living skin donation program provides high quality transplantable skin grafts for patients who need breast reconstruction after mastectomy, abdominal wall repair, and other reconstructive and medical procedures. Before the development of this program the excess skin removed at surgery had been discarded. Now, often a single donation can help multiple patients.
Dr. Shafer recently performed an abdominoplasty on Newburyport resident Nina Esile. Abdominoplasty is a procedure to remove excess skin and re-establish the normal contours of the abdomen after weight loss, and Nina was able to donate her skin to MTF. “After five children and weight loss, my abdomen was very stretched out,” explained Esile. “It is gratifying to me to be able to donate skin that had been such trouble for me, yet will be so useful for someone else.”
The donation process is straight-forward and simple for patients as it is part of the surgical procedure. There is no additional cost to the patient, nor is the patient paid for the skin donation.
“The availability of skin substitutes for reconstructive purposes is a major breakthrough,” says Dr. Shafer. “The new biologic materials are allowing for advancing technology and markedly improved reconstructions.” Dr. Shafer uses the skin substitutes frequently for breast reconstruction after cancer surgery.
(my emphasis added)