First experience of endoscopic implantation of tissue expanders in plastic and reconstructive surgery

  • V. I. Sharobaro
  • V. Y. Moroz
  • Y. G. Starkov
  • V. P. Strekalovsky
Original article


Background: Over the last 15 years, tissue expansion has been used in the treatment of 324 patients at the A. V. Vishnevsky Institute of Surgery. The principal drawbacks of the traditional technique for tissue expansion are the prolonged time needed to complete the process and a high rate of complications. With the traditional technique, the wound created by the implantation of the expander inhibits the expansion of the tissue until healing takes place, which requires 10–14 days. However, attempts to reduce of the length of the incision have been limited by the necessity to ensure good hemostasis in the expander pocket. We describe our initial experience with the endoscopic insertion of tissue expanders. Methods: We performed the endoscopic implantation of 20 tissue expanders in nine patients. Six patients had postburn scar deformities, one had congenital microtia, one had a capillary malformation, and one had a capillary malformation combined with postburn scar deformity. Tissue expanders were inserted in the head, face, neck, chest wall, scapular, shoulder, forearm, and calf regions. The endoscopic technique was specially adapted according to the features of the different anatomic sites. Endoscopy enabled creation of the expander pocket, with good control of hemostasis, through incisions ≤1 cm. The orientation of these incisions was parallel to forces of tension. Therefore, full expansion began immediately after placement of the expander, without any risk of postoperative wound dehiscence. The expanders were fully inflated intraoperatively accordingly to the principals followed in the traditional technique of implantation for inflation over a 3-week period. Further inflations were carried out regularly either daily or once every other day. Results: The average time required for the tissue expansion was 34 days, which was less than half the time needed with the traditional technique. All flaps remained extant after reconstruction with the expanded tissues. There were no complications. Conclusion: The advantages of the endoscopic implantation of tissue expanders are a reduction in expansion time, a shorter hospital stay, less patient discomfort, and the prevention of complications (hematoma, seroma, infection, wound dehiscence).


Endoscopy Plastic and reconstructive surgery Tissue expansion 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • V. I. Sharobaro
    • 1
  • V. Y. Moroz
    • 1
  • Y. G. Starkov
    • 1
  • V. P. Strekalovsky
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Reconstructive and Plastic SurgeryA. V. Vishnevsky Institute of Surgery, 27 B. Serpukhovskaya Street, Moscow 113811Russian Federation

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