tissue expander

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(TISH-yoo ek-SPAN-dir)

An enlarging balloon that stretches the skin after mastectomy. It is used so that an implant can fit in place and have a natural shape. It is put under the skin and chest muscles where the breast used to be. Salt water is injected into the expander every two to three weeks for about three to four months. This is done until the chest skin has stretched to the desired size. The expander is usually removed and replaced by an implant. Some expanders can be kept in place like an implant.

Read more about tissue expanders and other breast reconstruction techniques.


Audio contributed by: Paula Zahn

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