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.

What should I expect during my tissue expansion recovery?

After your surgery

How you feel after surgery depends on the extent and complexity of the procedure. The initial surgery to insert the expander causes most patients only temporary discomfort which can be controlled with medication prescribed by your physician.

You may feel some minor discomfort each time saline is injected into the expander, but this usually lasts only an hour or two. The follow-up procedure to remove the expander and put the new tissue in place may create some temporary discomfort, but this too can be controlled with medication.

Getting back to normal

Again, how soon you resume your normal routine depends on the length, complexity and type of surgery you've had. For breast reconstruction patients, if tissue expansion is separate from breast removal, normal activity can resume in two to four days.

Most tissue expansion patients find they can keep up with their normal routine while the expander is in place. Following the second surgery, most patients are up and about within a week.

Your new look

Generally, the results of tissue expansion are superior to other methods used to reconstruct or repair damaged skin. But keep in mind, the goal is improvement, not perfection. For most tissue expansion patients, the procedure dramatically improves their appearance and quality of life following surgery.

If you're physically healthy, psychologically stable and realistic in your expectations, you'll probably be quite pleased with your new look.



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