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UW Health SMPH
American Family Children's Hospital
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Tissue Expansion

Tissue expansion is a common procedure that uses the skin's ability to expand and grow in order to create extra skin and reconstruct different parts of the body.

 

During the procedure, skin near the area of repair is stretched by inserting a silicone expander just under the skin.  After time, the expander is filled with saline, which allows the skin to stretch and grow with the expander. Once expansion is complete, the expander is removed and reconstructive surgery is performed.

 

Indications for tissue expansion include:

  • Burns
  • Breast reconstruction
  • Congenital defects
  • Cosmetic procedures
  • Cranial reconstruction
  • Head and neck cancer
  • Upper or lower limb reconstruction