Can you skin someone and leave them alive?

Ok, a sick little topic I know but I’ve been curious since I saw the Dark Crystal when I was a kid, and I just read it in a short story by an author I’m just getting to know.

I’m willing to accept accomodations. I mean, a partial skinning, or maybe only the upper layer. And modern medicine’s intervention, of course.

Is there even the remotest chance of this? If yes, then how and under what circumstances? Would the skin grow back?
If not, then what does “flaying alive” mean?

I’ve seen examples on those Medical Incredible shows of people being afflicted with nasty diseases that slough off 90% or more of their skin and survive.

My understanding is that taking off all the skin (assuming you do a perfect job and don’t rupture any blood vessels) is like a full-thickness burn over 100% of your body. You’d be alive immediately following the act, but no guarantees after that. Treatment would be hard because there’d be no skin available for grafting. Cell cultures and artificial skin could work though. I think you could theoretically survive but it would take a lot of luck and probably wouldn’t happen. You’d lose a lot of fluid and be at huge risk for infection.

Oh, and here is a thread about something that pretty much amounts to what you’re describing. Ick.

Whether you’re a brother
Or whether you’re a mother,
You’re flayin’ alive, flayin’ alive…
Ooo, ooo, ooo, ooo…

Presumably you could if you replaced the skin with something else that could perform the same office. They’ve been working on various synthetic skin things for burn patients, but I think human skin from the burn victim him/herself (perhaps eked out by putting in small cuts and “expanding” the area) is still the preferred choiice.
Have a look at Fredrick Pohl’s novel Man Plus for a science fiction treatment of flaying someone alive and replacing their skin with an alternative meant to stand the rigors of an alien planet.

Didn’t the Japaneese experement with this on captured POW’s during WW2?

Wait. Who was skinned alive in The Dark Crystal? :confused:

Notes From The Field:
Well, that didn’t go very well. One “no” so far. I’ll try again later and report back.

Wasn’t there that dinosaur thing, that was originally on the bad side, and they rupped his hide from his body? Then he helped Frodo…er…Willow…er…I can’t remember, the good guy. That was the first place I’d ever heard of it.

I can’t recall anyone getting skinned alive in the Dark Crystal, but I’m sure one guy gets skinned alive after solving the Evil Rubik’s Cube in the first Hellraiser movie, and there’s a skinned woman in the second. In fact, at least partial skinning seems to be a running theme throught the Hellraiser series. I’m just not sure about the “alive” part.

I think that in Dark Crystal, they only rip off his clothes. He does yell a lot while it’s happening, but he’s fine immediately afterwards–and picks up a scrap of cloth to hold over himself.

As far as skinning alive goes, the major problems are fluid loss and infection. If you can control those two factors, the person will survive; however without serious modern medical intervention, the person won’t survive.

Note to self - NEVER EVER get on Anaamika’s bad side.

I think she’s talking about that Skekse (sp?) who helped Gen. I think the other Skekses were just stripping him of the raiments that indicated his “rank” among the others.

All of the Skekses would look like that if they weren’t wearing clothes.

Seriously? Becaus then I have been going through 20 some-odd years with the impression that they did indeed flay his hide.

Wow, what an impression for a kid to walk away with. And FTR, I was not possessed of an overly morbid imagination so that must really have seemed like what it was!

After the Skexis leader dies, the Garthim master and chancellor (can’t remember his name- Skelor? Imskex? Nelkris?) engage in a ritual duel called Haskekah. The Garthim master wins and becomes the new leader, the other Skexis fall on the chancellor tearing of his jewelry, clothing, and feathers. When the Gelflings meet him at the ruins, the chancellor isn’t skinned- any Skexis in his underwear looks like a diseased vulture.

Back To The OP

IANAMedical Doctor- But OTTOMH

Skin keeps us warm, holds in fluids, is a physical barrier to infection, and is connected to a whole bunch of blood vessels.

Burn patients, and people suffering from outbreaks of a kind of psoriasis that leaves them temporarily skinless (mostly anyway. They still have the innermost layer of skin. But this thin layer is not enough to keep out fluids, germs etc) can be temporarily covered in a special plastic.

If you want to flay some one and keep them alive without using the wonders of modern medicine, you want a room about eighty degrees, with a humidifier, and you should thoroughly clean everything beforehand. I have no idea how you would minimize blood los from the removal of skin. Presumably, there are places you could clamp and cauterize.

Historically, flaying alive meant that rather than skinning a corpse, you started with a live victim. They were not expected to survive flaying by more than a few minutes. Flaying was a (relatively) long and painful way to die.

In 1972 I had a crush wound to my left lower leg. This required a skin graft, which they took from my inside left thigh. I didn’t see the device, but the doc described it as being like a large set of hair clippers. It took a layer of skin about four inches wide and about ten inches long from my thigh. They put a spreader between my knees so I couldn’t bring my legs together, or roll over. I also had a frame to keep the bedcovers up off my body. The room was a sterile area and everyone had to follow sterile procedure. On one ocassion something touched the skinless area, I don’t remember if I inadvertantly touched it w/ my hand, or the sheet fell on it, but I instantly lost control of my bladder. It’s hard to describe, but the closest I can think of is loosing a fingernail. As I recall it healed over in about a week and got less sensitive as each day went by. Just to make things interesting, I developed a staff infection during this time and they were givning me massive doses of some antibiotic, which I also developed an adverse reaction to. I also had a visit from a shrink who was asking a lot of strange questions. When I finally asked him what his visit was all about, he informed me that if they couldn’t stop the infection within a short period they were going to have to amputate my leg. Fortunately that didn’t happen.
If much skin were removed, I think your chances of survival would be very slim, especially w/o intensive medical care.

That’s what I get for not previewing. On consulting the official comic adaptation.

Garthim Master Skekung challenges Chamberlain Skeksil to the duel of Haakskeekah.

The large photos in the back confirm that all the other Skeksis look like that, but wear more clothes.

Re Hellraiser

The first two films make it clear that those who escape Hell and return to earth are kept alive, at least at first, by supernatural means. At first, Frank doesn’t even have a complete skull or ribcage. His later statement “My nerves are starting to work again” can only mean that previously his nerves were not reporting pressure, texture, temperature, etc. He didn’t have the necessary parts to live, and what parts he did have weren’t functioning.


Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis in response to drug reaction - What’s the mechanism?

Oh, goodness. Yes, he was stripped of his garb, not his skin. The weird thing is that I now remember that I, too, thought he was being skinned as a kid. It wasn’t until I saw the movie as a grown up maybe 10 years ago that I realized it was just his clothes.

See? It’s not just me! Even as a kid I thought it was an awfully adult topic for a supposedly kiddie movie. I’m so embarrassed. :slight_smile: