American Society of Plastic Surgeons
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Tissue Expansion

Growing Extra Skin for Reconstruction

Tissue expansion enables the body to "grow" extra skin for use in reconstructing almost any part of the body.

Who is a good candidate for tissue expansion?

Almost anyone in need of additional skin can benefit from tissue expansion -- from infants to elderly men and women.

  • The procedure is used widely in breast reconstruction when there is not enough skin to accommodate a permanent implant to restore a woman's natural appearance.
  • It is also an option for repairing or replacing areas of the scalp, where hair growth makes it difficult to replace lost tissue with skin from other areas of the body.
  • Tissue expansion generally produces excellent results when reconstructing some areas of the face and neck, the hands, arms and legs.
  • Expansion may be more difficult on the back, torso, or other areas where skin is thick. If the affected area is severely damaged or scarred, expansion is probably not an option since healthy skin is the first requirement.


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