Tissue Expansion

Tissue expansion is a surgical technique that assists in the production of extra soft tissue for use in surgical reconstruction procedures like breast reconstruction; it is also used to repair skin damaged by birth defects like cleft lips, accidents, and some cosmetic procedures like hair replacement surgery.

Indications for Tissue Expansion

The most common indication for tissue expansion is an insufficiency of soft tissue required to complete a reconstructive procedure. Advantages of using tissue expansion in surgical reconstruction include:

  • Produces tissue with near-perfect match in color and texture
  • Results in minimal donor site morbidity and scarring
  • May be used on various body parts
  • Can provide tissue with sensory function or appendage attributes

Your Tissue Expansion Procedure with Dr. Morse

Most tissue expansion procedures are completed in an outpatient surgical facility and last an average of 1-2 hours. Either local or general anesthesia may be used, depending on the extent of the procedure. Dr. Morse will make a small incision next to area of skin to be repaired. He will then insert a silicone balloon expander beneath the skin. To fill the expander with saline, it is equipped with a tiny tube and a self-sealing valve, usually left just beneath skin surface.

Follow-up visits will be scheduled so that once the incision heals, Dr. Morse can inject the expander with additional saline. During the post-operative phase, the skin over the expander stretches as the expander enlarges, which may cause discomfort. Once the skin has stretched enough to adequately cover the affected area, Dr. Morse will conduct a second operation to remove the expander and resume reconstruction surgery using the new tissue.

What to Expect After Surgery

Your recovery from a tissue expansion procedure will vary depending on the overall surgical plan that is carried out. Ask the doctor for detailed information on what to expect duriong your post-operative recovery period.

To learn more about the benefits, costs or possible side effects of tissue expansion surgery, contact Dr. Morse for a personal consultation.