To perform a skin graft, doctors remove skin from a healthy area of the body and transfer it to another part of the body that lost skin due to an injury or disease, explains Healthline. Patients are typically given general anesthesia, allowing them to undergo a painless procedure.
In a split-level thickness graft, a surgeon removes the healthy skin’s upper levels, called the epidermis and dermis, and he transplants the grafts to the affected region, states Healthline. Preferred donor sites are hidden areas of the body, particularly the hip or the inner area of the thigh. Split-level grafts do not grow like normal skin, and they are often delicate and appear smoother or paler than the surrounding skin.
Another type of skin graft is a full-thickness graft, where the doctor removes the skin’s top layers along with the muscles and blood vessels. The stomach wall and chest wall are common donor sites, notes Healthline. Doctors usually perform the procedure to cover small wounds on the face or other noticeable parts of the body. Full-thickness grafts can grow, and they often look similar to the adjoining skin.
Patients who undergo a split-level thickness graft may require several days of hospitalization to ensure proper healing, says Healthline. Those who undergo a full-thickness graft often need to stay in the hospital for up to two weeks.