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FDA approves carbon dioxide tissue expander

New breast reconstruction tissue expander

Hot off the press!

The FDA (The US Food and Drug Administration) has cleared the carbon dioxide tissue expander for use in breast reconstruction surgery.

Tissue Expander

The mastectomy procedure removes the breast leaving the chest tissue tight, before breast reconstruction surgery the chest wall tissue needs to be stretched in order to accommodate the breast implant.  An expander stretches the tissue of the chest wall to make room for a breast implant, similar to a shoe stretcher; the cavity is increased slowly over time as the tissue is gradually stretched.

Saline solution injections

The current way of stretching the tissue is achieved through the fitting of an expander and saline solution. The expander is increased in size by regular trips to the surgeon who injects the saline solution into the expander using a needle and syringe.

Carbon dioxide delivery

The new system uses carbon dioxide rather than saline solution,  a small canister of compressed CO2 is contained within the expander. The release of the gas into the expander cavity can then be remotely controlled. Once positioned into the patients body and the incision has healed, the tissue expander, AeroForm, can be used at home delivering a controlled dose up to three times a day. This enables the patient to expand the tissue themselves, rather than having to visit the hospital to have the expander increased. The traditional expander took around 6 months before the breast is ready to accept an implant. The AeroForm takes only 17 days.

Illustration of the AeroForm Tissue Expander – courtesy of AirXpanders. Click on the image to visit their website for further information

Benefits to the patient

There is no need for needles, the patient controls it themselves, less pain, shorter recovery and faster results all add up to an incredible change in the breast reconstruction procedure.

This story can be read on the Medscape website by following this link. The AirXpanders.com website can be reached by following this link.