Tissue AIR Expansion System for Breast Reconstruction

After mastectomy, breast cancer patients who wish to have reconstructive surgery often undergo a process by which a space to accommodate a breast implant is created under the patient's remaining skin. The standard process entails injections of saline every few weeks to gradually expand the skin and muscle in the chest to allow placement of a permanent implant. Some women find that not only are the injections painful, but frequent visits to the hospital for 4 to 6 months or more may present a significant time burden.

NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia is the first center in the U.S. to conduct a trial of a needle-free tissue expansion technique, which eliminates the need for frequent saline injections and hospital visits. This investigational method first requires implantation of a small expander device. Once at home, the patient uses a remote-control device to release small amounts of compressed carbon-dioxide from a valve in the expander. Daily expansion may result in creation of a pocket in an average of 15 days, a significant advantage over several months of saline injections. Patients can use the new needle-free technology while at home, at their own pace and comfort level.