How Does Tissue Expansion Work?

Tissue expansion is a procedure that enables the body to create extra skin to be used in a variety of reconstructive surgical procedures. It can take the place of skin grafts or flaps in the case of breast reconstruction following a mastectomy or after an accident or for cosmetic reasons. The procedure requires an incision to be made close to the part of the body that requires reconstructive surgery—for example, in the affected area of the chest in the case of breast reconstruction. A balloon-like device made of silicone is inserted under the skin and filled with saline solution in slow stages. This causes the balloon to expand and stretch the skin. Once there is enough new skin, it is placed over the area that requires repair and sutured to remain place.

Tissue expansion experiments were attempted in the early 20th century, but the first clinical use occurred in 1957. However, it took a couple more decades for the procedure to gain the widespread acceptance. The new skin has the same look and feel as the surrounding skin, and the procedure can be done on patients irrespective of age or skin type and works best where the skin is thin, such as the arms, legs, hands, neck, face and scalp.

Saline-filled implants

Most women receive saline-filled implants which consist of a silicone shell filled with sterile salt. This type of implant is generally less expensive.

Cohesive silicone gel-filled implants

Recently, new cohesive silicone gel implants have become available to Canadian plastic surgery patients. Silicone gel implants tend to feel more like real breast tissue than saline implants and do not ripple or fold as much as saline implants. The current cohesive gel is less likely to seep, run or shift unlike the older type of liquid silicone implants. The silicone implants have two popular subtypes which are the “Round implants” & the “Tear Drop anatomical implants”.

Silicone Gel implants

With advancement in technology daily, new implants are been still invented under the silicone gel implants. Dr. Hong’s expertise in breast augmentation surgeries is remarkable from performing hundreds of breast augmentation surgeries with great artistic skills. His professional & passionate skills can help you achieve your prospective breast augmentation goals. You need a highly skilled and efficient plastic surgeon to give you your desired rejuvenated figure and Dr. Colin Hong is one of the top plastic surgeons in Toronto.

Toronto Tissue Expansion

Tissue expansion in Toronto is normally an outpatient procedure and generally done under local anesthesia. The surgery begins with a small incision made as close as possible to the damaged skin, into which is inserted a balloon expander with a self-sealing valve. The incision is closed with stitches and covered with a bandage. Patients need to return to the doctor’s office periodically so the expander can be filled with additional saline. When there is enough new skin, which can take up to three to four months to achieve, the expander is removed and the additional skin is positioned over the damaged area. Dr. Colin Hong, a plastic surgeon in Toronto, performs this surgical procedure on patients of all ages and with different needs.

Patients can, in most cases, return home within a few hours of the initial surgery and can resume normal activities in two to four days. A small amount of discomfort may be felt after each expansion session, but will fade away in a couple of hours. After the second surgery to remove the balloon and reposition the new skin, patients need to rest for a few days up to a week before resuming regular activity levels.

If tissue expansion is required after a traumatic injury or major surgery, the Toronto surgeon may decide to wait for the wound to fully heal before beginning tissue expansion. However, in some cases such as breast reconstruction, the expansion procedure may begin immediately after the breast removal. Additionally, tissue expansion can be used for cosmetic reasons, such as to treat balding. The “new” skin contains the same hair follicles and makes for a more natural choice over other methods.

Dr. Hong is a successful body shaping specialist who is admired as a pioneering Toronto liposuction, buttock lift and buttock augmentation authority. He has a long-standing reputation for helping patients seeking arm lift, thigh lift and tummy tuck in Toronto achieve their desires for an improved self-image.

Frequently Asked Questions

Choosing your desired implant for surgery depends on quite a number of multiple factors which include your native breast dimension (height and width) , projection, rib cage width, body anatomy, volume, the thickness of tissue, how you want the breast to look like after surgery. The most effective way of choosing implant size is to try out sizers from your surgeon while wearing a tight body fit.

In cases of implant weights, the bigger the implants the more they will likely weigh. The size of 100 cc silicone implant generally weighs 0.23 lbs while that of the saline implant with size 100 cc weighs 0.21 lbs. Going bigger in size, a 300 cc silicone implant weighs 0.69 pounds and a pair weighs 1.38 pounds. 300 cc saline implants weigh 0.63 lb and a pair weighs 1.26 lbs. In this case, implants weigh almost the same as the exact amount that an actual breast tissue would weigh. 

In most cases, the weight varies slightly depending on the manufacturers. There might be a slight weight variation from different manufacturers.

Whether or not a person performs a breast augmentation, the genetic makeup of the individual has a major role to play in the contribution of breast sag. Factors such as weight (increasing or decreasing), gravity, age, skin elasticity & ethnicity have a lot to do when it comes to breast augmentation sagging. In this case, use a very good supportive bra that will help you to reduce the effect of sagging.

The lifespan of breast implant is not actually guaranteed as it is not predictable when the implant lifecycle will eventually end. In which case, no matter how your counseling process has been with your surgeon before the operation, always bear in mind that you cannot have a breast implant that will last a lifetime. 

There is no set expiry date attached to breast implants because there has not been a reason to get them replaced unless there is a possible rupture or have other problems. Most times implants exceed more than 12 years and even last up to 30 years in some cases.  

There are quite a number of new implants that have been introduced for breast augmentation and are known as “jelly bean”, “gummy bear”, or “highly cohesive gel” implants that are also available for breast augmentation and they have a firmer feeling, but there are no effective long term results to indicate that they are much better or tend to last longer than the saline or silicone implants.  

Breast augmentation is normally performed in our Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities. It also has certification by the College of Physicians and Surgeon OHP program.

Since the surgery is under general anesthesia, there is no pain during the procedure. 

The greatest period of discomfort for the patient is usually the first twenty-four to forty-eight hours after breast augmentation surgery. Afterward, pains will reduce and there will be no need for too much pain relievers as usual. We do a 24-hour recovery routine that most patients have a very little discomfort after 24 hours. In the case where breast implants are placed in the submuscular position, there will initially cause more discomfort than when it is placed in the subglandular pocket ( in front of the muscle).

In the case of breast augmentation, general anesthesia is commonly used. This will guarantee a painless procedure and also the surgeon can concentrate to deliver his best surgical result. 

You can see pre and post-operative result in our office.

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