Tissue Expansion

A Technique in Reconstructive Surgery

Tissue expansion is a highly useful reconstructive surgery technique that plastic surgeons perform for patients who lack sufficient tissue for their reconstructive needs.

Dr. Alfaro can perform tissue expansion during a variety of reconstructive procedures at our Tucson plastic surgery practice.

What to Expect in Tissue Expansion

What is it? Procedure that creates excess tissue to cover or reconstruct a part of the body
Inpatient / Outpatient Either
Surgery time: Varies depending on the operation
Recovery time: Recovery time varies depending on the surgery. Follow-up procedures may be required to complete the process.

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, repair of birth defects, and repair of traumatic injuries.

If you are to undergo a reconstructive procedure and lack the amount of extra skin necessary, Dr. Alfaro may use this procedure to create new skin for covering a defect.

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.

How Tissue Expansion Works

For your initial tissue expansion procedure, you will be placed under a general anesthetic for one to two hours. In this procedure, Dr. Alfaro will place the balloon expander beneath the tissue that is to be stretched.

After the appropriate location for the expander has been selected, Dr. Alfaro 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. Alfaro will then close the incisions, leaving the expander and the fill valve beneath your skin.

Over a period of a few weeks, you will return to the office where Dr. Alfaro 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.

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. 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 will vary. Dr.Alfaro will be able to advise you about specific recovery steps after tissue expansion.

Scheduling Your Surgery in Tucson, AZ

To learn more about tissue expansion techniques to create skin for reconstructive surgery, we encourage you to contact the Tucson plastic surgery practice of Dr. Armando Alfaro.