Aeroform: A Newer, Faster Method of Breast Reconstruction

Jeffrey A. Ascherman, MD, site chief of the division of Plastic Surgery at NYP/Columbia, is now offering breast cancer patients a new device that allows them to do part of their breast reconstruction at home, and with faster results.

“Aeroform makes treatment more comfortable and convenient,” he says. “It gives women a sense of control, something they often lose with a cancer diagnosis. And it lets them proceed at their own pace.”

After breast cancer surgery, many patients choose reconstruction with an implant. The surgeon inserts a tissue expander, a temporary pouch that is gradually enlarged with saline to stretch the remaining skin and muscle. This means coming to the surgeon’s office every two weeks, for a saline injection, a process that can sometimes be painful.   

“I tell women this is not a race, and encourage them to listen to their bodies, and go as slowly as they need to,” says Dr. Ascherman.  “The advantage of the Aeroform device is that it allows patients to increase the size of the implant very gradually, day by day.  The example I sometimes give is pregnancy, where the abdomen expands a great deal at a slow, steady pace.  The Aeroform also results in slow and steady expansion, which can make the breast reconstruction process easier to tolerate.”

The Aeroform device involves a palm-sized remote control very much like a remote car key. It activates a tiny cartridge inside the expander, or pouch, that  the surgeon has placed within the breast, filling it with gas.  A woman can press the control button up to three times a day, depending on her own level of comfort.  That means she’s increasing the size of her implant on a daily basis, instead of being dependent on a schedule of injections given in a physician’s office twice a month.

In a company-sponsored study of 150 women, AeroForm patients finished tissue expansion in half the time and were able to get implants approximately a month sooner than others who had the usual saline treatments, says Dr. Ascherman, who led a national study of this device.

The Aeroform expander comes in three sizes. Women can choose the amount of inflation yet there are built-in safety feature that prevents them from over-inflating. Once fully expanded, the device is removed and replaced with a breast implant. 

To refer a patient, please call 212.305.9612.

Learn more about Columbia’s Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery here

Thirty-five year-old Luincys Fernandez, a high school chemistry teacher, who benefitted from the Aeroform, tells her story on Fox News.

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