American Society of Plastic Surgeons
For Medical Professionals
 

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.

How should I prepare for tissue expansion?

Your surgeon will give you specific instructions on how to prepare for surgery, including guidelines on eating and drinking, smoking and taking or avoiding certain medications.

If you smoke, your surgeon will probably ask you to quit for at least two weeks before and after your surgery, since smoking may have an effect on how well you heal.

Whether your surgery is done on an outpatient or inpatient basis, you should arrange for someone to drive you home after your surgery and to help you afterwards if needed.

Where your surgery will be performed

While most tissue expansion is done in an outpatient surgical facility, the size and location of the expansion, as well as the preference of the patient and surgeon, will dictate where the surgery takes place.

Your surgeon may begin tissue expansion immediately at the time of breast removal. If you've had an injury, on the other hand, your surgeon will probably recommend that tissue expansion be performed in an outpatient surgical facility after the wound has healed.

More and more frequently, surgeons are performing tissue expansions on an out patient basis for cost savings and convenience.

Types of anesthesia

Your surgeon may use local anesthesia, combined with a sedative to make you drowsy. You'll be awake but relaxed and should feel little discomfort. Your surgeon may recommend the use of a general anesthesia instead, in which case you'll sleep through the entire operation.



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