Though often seen as a way to make cosmetic changes to the body, plastic surgery is useful in many aspects of the medical field as well. One of the biggest examples of plastic surgery acting as a crucial medical service is tissue expansion. This medical procedure is among the most natural ways to replace lost skin. Arviv Plastic Surgery is here to help you learn more about this cutting-edge, natural procedure and explore your options for rebuilding your lost skin in a healthy and forward-thinking way.
What Is Tissue Expansion?
Tissue expansion is a method of replacing lost skin. Though tissue expansion plastic surgery is most commonly used in breast reconstruction, it’s an excellent option for anyone dealing with missing skin nearly anywhere on the body. Unlike skin grafts and other methods, the skin used to replace the missing skin will always match perfectly and may even contain hair follicles to make the results look as seamless as possible.
The process itself is a fairly simple one. After a thorough consultation with our professionals, our experienced surgeons implant a saline expander near the area that requires the growth of new skin. The expander is gradually filled with saline. Over time, the body responds to the presence of the expander and begins to grow new skin cells over the expander. Once the body has created enough new skin cells, the expander is removed. Finally, the new skin grown over the expander is pulled over the area, being treated, and then attached.
When to Consider Tissue Expansion
Tissue expansion is an excellent option for most people who require new skin for a reconstruction process. However, ideal candidates for this procedure should be otherwise healthy, with no underlying illnesses or diagnoses that could complicate the implant and healing process. Stopping habits such as smoking could also facilitate better, faster healing after the procedure. If you are a candidate for this procedure, you could enjoy benefits such as:
- Effortless color-matching with the surrounding skin
- Possibility of new skin to grow hair
- Lower chance of skin loss
- Less obvious scarring after the procedure
These benefits are what make this procedure among the best and most natural of its kind. Consulting with your doctor before the procedure takes place can help you identify any existing issues or habits that may interfere with your candidacy for tissue expansion or that may need to be changed to create the best possible final results.
Though tissue expansion is quite common in certain aspects of plastic surgery and reconstruction, it remains a lesser-known option to many potential candidates. As such, there have been many questions asked over the years about what, exactly, the procedure is and what it entails. Take the time to review these frequently asked questions to better understand tissue expansion and how the process works.
What Are the Steps of Tissue Expansion?
Our surgeons follow a thorough list of steps to ensure patients are receiving the best possible care and results when they choose to work with Arviv Plastic Surgery:
- General anesthetic or intravenous sedation are applied
- A small incision is created near the treatment area
- The expander is placed inside the small incision
- The expander is positioned and partially filled with saline
- The filling valve of the expander is positioned close to the surface of the skin
- The incision is closed with small sutures designed to reduce chances of scarring
After the expander has been implanted, patients will need to visit our team periodically to have more saline solution injected via the filling valve and have their new skin stretched. Once the body has created enough new skin, a second surgery is performed to remove the expander. After this, the new skin is stretched over the treatment area and then secured with sutures.
How Long Is Recovery Following the Procedure?
There are multiple surgeries required throughout this procedure. Generally, the first surgery in which the expander is implanted near the treatment site is expected to be less intense. The second surgery may take a bit longer to heal because the new skin must heal at the treatment site. However, in both surgeries, stitches can normally be removed within two weeks.
After the first surgery, it’s advised to take a few days for recovery. Patients can resume normal activity within 2 to 4 days of having the saline expander implanted.
After the second surgery, it’s advised not to resume normal activity until at least 5 to 8 days after the procedure. However, note that a full recovery from the second surgery could take as long as 4 to 10 weeks in some cases. The variation lies in the location of the procedure and the size of the treatment area.
Will There Be Scarring From Tissue Expansion?
At Arviv Plastic Surgery, we always strive to provide patients with the results they need without causing unnecessary scarring or other damage to the body. Generally, incisions are made in the body’s natural lines, so related scarring isn’t obvious, and we use fine sutures for this procedure to keep scarring as faint as possible. In many cases, scars from this procedure fade within 12 months.
How Will I Feel After the Procedure?
Immediately after each surgery, you may experience some discomfort due to the incisions and any anesthesia used. Additionally, there may be some small amount of discomfort during periodic saline injections, though these instances are reported to be less severe than the discomfort after the required surgical procedures. Pain may be managed with over-the-counter pain relief medication or with prescribed medication as recommended by your surgeon.
Are There Any Possible Complications of Tissue Expansion?
As is the case with any plastic surgery procedure, there are some risks associated with tissue expansion. These include leakage of the saline expander after it’s been implanted, decreased sensation, poor wound healing, bleeding, infection, unfavorable final skin appearance, and a partial or even total loss of the new tissue grown throughout the process. A thorough discussion of these risks will take place during your initial consultation, as well as learning about ways you can reduce the risks of some of these potential complications.
Tissue Expansion Surgery Cost
The cost of tissue expansion can vary based on your access to health insurance and what’s covered under your individual plan. In order to get the best possible estimate of undergoing a tissue expansion procedure, contact us today to discuss crucial details regarding your health, finances, and more.
Learn More About Tissue Expansion in Tampa
Tissue expansion is a great option for those looking for a natural way to regrow skin during reconstructive procedures. To learn more about cost, candidacy, and more or to schedule a consultation with our experienced team today, contact us at Arviv Plastic Surgery.