Tissue expansion is a reconstructive surgical procedure designed to use extra skin grown specifically to repair another area. The extra skin may then be used to reconstruct nearly any part of the body, but it is most commonly used for breast reconstruction.
Reconstructive surgery may take on many forms. Aside from breast reconstruction, tissue expansion may be used to repair parts of the scalp, face and body that have experienced some sort of trauma or accident. Tissue expansion is ideal for patients wishing to get the most natural-looking results possible out of their reparative procedure.
During consultation, Dr. Weston will discuss all of your reconstructive surgery options and review your health and medical history before recommending the best procedure for you.
Tissue expansion may be performed using general anesthesia or local anesthesia with IV sedation.
To facilitate tissue expansion, a silicone balloon expander will be inserted under your skin in an area near the one that needs to be reconstructed. The balloon is gradually filled with saline solution over time, which causes the skin to stretch and grow.
Once an adequate amount of extra skin has grown, the balloon expander is removed, and in the case of breast reconstruction, breast implants are inserted. If the skin is being used to repair the face or some other area, it is harvested and grafted to the appropriate area.
While the expander is in place, most patients have no trouble maintaining their daily routine, however there is typically about a week of downtime after the second reconstructive surgical procedure in the tissue expansion process. Of course, the length of recovery and the recovery experience depend on the nature and complexity of the reconstructive surgery procedure being performed.