Reconstructive procedure to promote the growth of healthy skin and replace damaged tissue
Tissue expansion surgery is used to ‘grow new skin’ as part of a procedure to repair damaged or scarred skin. This may be as a result of birth defects, accidents or following surgery. The procedure can be carried out in almost any area of the body, in particular, areas of the face, neck, arms, hands, and legs.
Tissue expansion surgery is also used for reconstruction following breast removal as well as in restorative burn surgery.
During tissue expansion surgery, a silicone balloon expander is inserted under the skin near to where the area needs to be repaired. Once in position, the balloon is slowly filled with a saline solution enabling the skin to stretch and grow (which can take up to several months). When the new skin has reached the optimal size, the silicone balloon expander is removed and the new skin is distributed over the damaged area to be treated.
Alternative procedures to tissue expansion use existing skin from other parts of the body in the form of a skin graft. Tissue expansion surgery is often preferred as the skin remains connected to the same blood and nerve supply as the damaged area. As the block of tissue is from the same area, cosmetically the results are better as the new skin will have the same colour, texture and hair growth qualities. Given that the new skin is not moved from another areas, scars are also often less extensive and visible with tissue expansion surgery.
Tissue expansion surgery is a procedure aiming to ‘grow new skin’ and repair damaged or scarred tissues.
Tissue expansion surgery can lead to better outcomes when seeking to repair damaged or scarred skin compared to alternatives e.g. skin grafts. With tissue expansion surgery, the skin remains connected to the same blood and nerve supply as the damaged area; furthermore, cosmetic results tend to be better as the new skin will have the same colour, texture and hair growth qualities. Scars are also often be less visible with the tissue expansion surgery.
At the first session, a silicone balloon expander is inserted under the skin near to where the scar/area that needs to be repaired. Over a few weeks, the balloon is slowly filled with a saline solution enabling the skin to stretch and grow. Once the skin has reached the optimal size, a further procedure is required to remove the silicone balloon expander and the new skin is distributed over the damaged area to be reconstructed.
- Cosmetic and functional procedure to promote the ‘growth of healthy new skin’
- Silicone balloon stretches the skin and the tissue is distributed over the damaged area
- Particularly effective in areas of the face, neck, arms, hands and legs
- Used for breast reconstruction as well as reconstructive burn surgery
- Initial expander placement takes between 1 to 2 hours depending on the size of the area to be treated
- Healing takes a couple of weeks following the initial operation
- Typical procedure cost starts from £5,000 for the two stage process
- You will have an initial consultation with an expert specialist in this area
The majority of procedures need either sedation or general anaesthetic; during the tissue expansion operation, local anaesthetic is also used and therefore minimal pain is experienced. Following complete healing of the wounds, your surgeon will be starting the process of expansion over several sessions. Ahead of each inflation, local anaesthetic cream is used over the inflation port site; as the saline solution is added to the silicone balloon, some patients experience tightness and tenderness in the affected area as the expander stretches the overlying skin. Painkillers can be used to lessen any discomfort.
Following the initial installation of the silicone balloon expander, patients are swiftly able to resume their normal routine. After the second surgery (i.e., removal of the silicone balloon expander), patients are typically able to resume their normal routine within two weeks, although this can vary depending on the size of the area being treated.
The price for tissue expansion surgery starts from approximately £5,000 which includes both the initial installation of the silicone balloon expander, the subsequent removal of the balloon and the redistribution of the new skin to repair the damaged or scarred skin.