Tissue expansion is a procedure that plastic surgeons perform for patients who lack sufficient tissue for their reconstructive procedure.
Dr. Hunsicker can perform tissue expansion as part of a variety of reconstructive procedures at our South Denver plastic surgery practice. Tissue expansion techniques are not often performed independently of another reconstructive procedure, as the goal of tissue expansion is to create excess tissue to cover or recreate a part of the body.
Tissue expansion is frequently used in procedures like:
- Breast reconstruction after mastectomy surgery
- Repair of birth defects
- Repair of injuries or trauma
If you are to undergo a reconstructive procedure, but lack the amount of extra skin necessary, Dr. Hunsicker may use this procedure to create new skin and stretch your existing tissue.
In order to undergo this procedure, you should be a healthy non-smoker, as this will aid in proper tissue expansion and improve skin elasticity. It's important to understand that tissue expansion usually requires several procedures, not just one.
Techniques in Tissue Expansion
For your initial tissue expansion procedure, you will be placed under IV sedation or a general anesthetic for one to two hours. In this procedure, Dr. Hunsicker will place the balloon expander beneath the tissue that is to be stretched.
After the appropriate location for the expander has been selected, Dr. Hunsicker will make incisions and create a pocket for the expander below the skin. This expander, made of silicone, will then be gradually filled with saline, which will stretch the overlying skin. Dr. Hunsicker will then close the incisions, leaving the expander and the fill valve beneath your skin.
What can I expect after tissue expansion procedures?
Over a period of a few weeks, you will return to the office, where Dr. Hunsicker will perform follow-up procedures, further filling the expander with saline until the skin is adequately stretched. Once this has happened, you will be able to move forward in the reconstructive process.
How does tissue expansion feel?
After the expander is placed under your skin and it has been filled with saline, you are likely to experience discomfort and a tightening of the skin for a couple of hours up to several days. You should, however, be able to resume your routine two to four days after insertion of the expander. Depending on the reconstructive surgery to be performed, after the expander has adequately stretched the skin, your recovery time can vary greatly. Dr. Hunsicker will then be able to advise you about recovery steps.
Learn More About Tissue Expansion in South Denver
Dr. Lisa M. Hunsicker has been practicing medicine since 1995. Since 2001, Revalla plastic surgery of South Denver has been providing patients with excellent, individualized cosmetic surgery results. We encourage you to call us for a personal consultation with Dr. Hunsicker. Contact us at 720-283-2500 or online to schedule a consultation with Dr. Hunsicker. Together, you can determine if you are a good candidate for tissue expansion.