While the patient is awake, sleepy (sedated), or deep asleep and pain-free (local anesthesia or general anesthesia), healthy skin is taken from the selected donor site on the patient's body using a dermatome (skin-cutting instrument).
Review Date 2/11/2017
Updated by: Debra G. Wechter, MD, FACS, general surgery practice specializing in breast cancer, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.