Do You Have Excess Skin from Weight Loss? Donate It

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It seems sort of a waste to not do something with that excess skin from your waist if you want to have surgery to remove it. In 2007, Dr. Beverly Shafer must have thought the same thing when she asked her patient Nina Esile if she would be willing to donate the excess skin from her tummy tuck to the Musculoskeletal Transplant Foundation (MTF). The New Jersey tissue bank is the only living skin donor program in the U.S.

Traditionally, skin donation has come from donors who are deceased. The skin used is extremely thin, thinner than a piece of Kleenex, and is used to treat burn patients. However in recent years, doctors have begun performing more complex surgeries that require larger and thicker amounts of skin. Researchers have developed newer techniques to be able to use skin from live skin donors to fill this need. These larger pieces of skin can be used for breast reconstruction after a mastectomy, for abdominal wall covering after a hernia repair as well as filling any larger gaps that have created deformities elsewhere in the body.

According to Martha Anderson of the MTF as reported to, "Recipients do not have to take antirejection drugs for living skin or deceased skin, because we have taken the cells out," Anderson said. "We don't have to do blood-type matching, either -- none of the matching you have to do with organs."

The technique for handling and treating donor skin has continued to be perfected so that unwanted fat and other cells are removed before the skin is stored and frozen for donation. There is no charge for donating live skin and the National Organ Transplant Act prohibits selling or buying any donor tissue.

According to Cindy Gordon of MTF, currently, there are only 70 surgeons who are working with MTF on the program but the need for live donor skin has grown tremendously over that last few years. As of 2007, there were over 300 live skin donations performed but the number has risen to over 1,600 in 2009.

If you or someone you know is interested in donating their unwanted excess skin, contact the Musculoskeletal Transplant Foundation at

Add a Comment9 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

I have a friend burned over 75% of his body. Young, has his first child due this coming May. I want to help, but I am on disability so money isn't an option for me.

I am not over-weight, but would gladly donate skin to help if that is an option? He is hospitalized in Memphis, TN.

Can you point me in a direction for answers?

Donna Adams or Donna Jean on Facebook .

Thank you for your time and consideration of my request and God bless all.

April 22, 2015 - 4:03pm
Susan Cody HERWriter Guide (reply to Anonymous)

Hi Donna! 

This is very generous of you but if you have no skin to spare, I don't think you would be a candidate. There are many fresh cadavers that could be put to good use. 

There are some links on this thread. Take a look and see what might be good for your friend. We wish him the best, I know that burns are nearly unbearable to live with. 


April 22, 2015 - 4:36pm
EmpowHER Guest

I am 55 yr old woman,since i was 13 yrs old i had big breasts..38ddd is my size,I'm 5"1 hight,my breasts had always been an inconvenience to me,also had brought me a lot of grief,my posture is damage,i have deep indentations in my shoulders area,plus don't have any upper body strenght from the weight,have terrible back pain.My breasts have never been of use to me, as a woman was never able to breast feed my three kids,never where of sexual use,clothes never fit right and thru all my life was bullied because of them.My health insurance will not pay for surgery and i was suggested by a friend to look into donation,I've been depressed about this all my life,i don't care if i end up with nasty scars,i'm not the type to show off my body,i just want to take this weight off of my upper body,so i can help my body feel better and maybe not have anymore pain in my neck,back and be able to take off my bra at night to sleep.Many times i thought about mutilating them and have wish to have breast cancer so i could rid of them. Please,i'm not doing this to be shallow,i just can't afford any expenses because I live from social security disability and on a fix income .and have a lot of health issues,this will be a big relief for my health and body.
Thank you for taking the time to read my story and hopefully you will be of help to me

April 1, 2015 - 12:44pm
Michele Blacksberg RN HERWriter (reply to Anonymous)

Hello Anon,

I am so sorry that you have had these difficulties.  What I suggest you do, I suggested this to another reader, is to make a list of doctors who are a drivable distance to you.  Write a letter explaining why you want breast reduction surgery but that you cannot afford it.  Ask that doctor if they could offer you help at a very reduced fee or if they have any suggestions of where else you can ask.  Put your email address/phone number on the letter so it is easy for them to respond back to you.  Perhaps one of those places can help you.  

take care,


April 1, 2015 - 1:23pm
Michele Blacksberg RN HERWriter

Hello Anon,

I would contact this group directly and ask.

Contact Us

Musculoskeletal Transplant Foundation
125 May Street 
Edison, NJ 08837
Fax: 732-661-2298

November 13, 2014 - 11:06am
EmpowHER Guest

Can anyone tell me where I can donate my skin to burn victims

November 13, 2014 - 8:11am
Michele Blacksberg RN HERWriter

Hello Anon,

I am sorry the old links do not work but those are the links I used to write the article. If you go to the main site, you can look around.

This is a link to their Q and A section

Same thing with the 3rd link. Go to their main page here

Some news sites do not charge for archived article but apparently does. Sorry.


July 28, 2014 - 8:12am
EmpowHER Guest

The first three links listed as sources for this article are no longer valid and the fourth requires payment from non-subscribers to view the article. As a public service, this article should be updated or removed.

July 23, 2014 - 10:08am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

The first link worked for me. Maybe it's you.

April 20, 2015 - 9:20am
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