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Burn victim Pippie Kruger is healing, but she isn’t out of danger yet.
“We have to be more careful (with a skin graft) because it’s still risky. You could literally pull (the skin) off,” said plastic surgeon Ridwan Mia.
The doctor opened the child’s dressings on Wednesday evening and found the skin still intact, but fragile.
“I realised that we have to go very slowly with the progress we expect from (the skin),” he said.
Pippie was burnt on 80 percent of her body when a bottle of gel fire lighter exploded on New Year’s Eve.
Just under two weeks ago, she underwent landmark surgery when her burns were covered with skin grown from her own cells in a lab in Boston, US.
Mia removed Pippie’s bandages earlier this week for the first time since her operation and found the skin had taken on 90 percent of her burns. He said this was an excellent result.
The three-year-old girl has been sedated since her operation and is expected to wake up and most likely be taken off her ventilator in the next day or two.
Currently, the skin is clear, but Mia said he hoped it would look normal within a few months.
Pippie’s scars will stretch as she grows and are not so severe that they will hinder her growth.
Mia said they expected Pippie to have problems when she reaches puberty, as her breast tissue and part of her pectoralis muscle, which lies under the breast, was badly burnt and had to be removed in previous operations.
In two or three weeks, Pippie is expected to leave Netcare Garden City Hospital, where she has been treated so far, and begin rehab to regain muscle strength and learn to speak again. - The Star