New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center now offers breast cancer survivors an at-home method for tissue expansion before breast reconstruction.

A small expander device is implanted in the patient’s chest, and she can control the process at home use a remote control to gradually create a space within their chest wall for a breast implant.

This may one day replace saline injections which gradually expand skin and muscle of their chest.. In a study of the device in Australia, the new method created a space for the breast in 15 days. This would have taken several months of saline injections.

The procedure is being offered as part of an ongoing clinical trial designed to compare outcomes with that of traditional saline expansion method. New York-Presbyterian/Columbia was the first center in the US to receive Institutional Review Board approval for a trial of the new technique. Study funding is provided by device manufacturer AirXpanders Inc. of Palo Alto, Calif.

Eligible patients include non-obese women from 18 to 65 years of age who do not smoke, have not had previous tissue expansion or radiation therapy, and who are opting for breast reconstruction with tissue expansion after mastectomy.

For more information about the trial, contact Jeffrey Ascherman, MD,  site chief of the division of plastic surgery at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center in New York City. He can be reached at  (212) 305-9612.

Source: New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center

Image courtesy of AirXpanders Inc.