Tissue Expansion

Tissue Expansion

What is meant by Tissue expansion?

Tissue Expansion is the process whereby the body naturally grows extra tissue or skin to reconstruct or rebuild any part of the body where it is may be required. Tissue Expansion 1
In tissue expansion procedures being performed these days, a balloon expander made of silicon is placed within the skin which is supposed to be repaired and is then filled with saline after a certain period of time. This causes the consequent expansion and growth of the skin. The most common application for this type of tissue expansion is in breast reconstruction procedures following mastectomy or breast removal. Other applications include repairing skin damaged resulting from trauma, previous surgeries, accidents, birth defects etc.
If you have been recommended tissue expansion by your surgeon, it is important that you first understand how it works prior to proceeding with the surgery. This will help you understand the outcomes of the procedure a lot better.

Are there any risks or complications associated with tissue expansion?

Even though tissue expansion offers astounding results in terms of skin repair; similar to all invasive procedures, it too poses certain risks and complications which must be discussed with patients prior to surgery. Some of the risks and complications that are related to tissue expansion procedures include:

–          Breakage or leakage of the silicone tissue expander

–          Infection at the site of surgery

–          Bleeding and formation of hematoma

–          Post surgical, persistent pain

–          Damage to vessels and nerves

–          Allergic reactions to materials used during the surgery

–          Complications and risks associated with anesthesia administration


What are the steps involved in tissue expansion?

Tissue expansion only takes about an hour or two depending upon the extent of repair required and the expertise of the surgeon. First a small incision is created near the site which is supposed to be repaired. Next, the silicone balloon expander is inserted into the skin. This expander comes with a tube which allows the expander to be filled with a solution of salt and water when needed.
The saline solution is only inserted into the expander when the incisions have completely healed. This continues periodically as more skin is stretched and more saline is filled each time. Although measures are taken to decrease or minimize pain, in some cases, patients may feel a certain degree of discomfort each time the surgeon attempts to fill the expander with saline solution.
Once the skin has expanded enough to adequately cover the region required, the surgeon will then perform a minor operation to remove the expander from the skin and reorient the tissues.

Tissue Expansion Medical 1

Recovery and results from Tissue Expansion (Click here to view Before & After Photographs):

It may take a few weeks to months to recover from the surgery based on the extent of tissue expansion done. Analgesics and antibiotics may be prescribed to reduce the chances of post surgical pain and infection. It is possible for patients to resume their normal daily activities within a week of surgery with adequate care.
Tissue expansion dramatically improves appearances and works better than numerous other surgeries in repair skin damaged by trauma, accidents, defects or previous surgeries.