Image: A pneumatic system uses compressed CO2 to expand breast tissue (Photo courtesy of AirXpanders).
An innovative wireless tissue expander system provides a needle-free alternative to saline breast expanders for women undergoing breast reconstruction.
The AeroForm system includes a tissue expander placed underneath the chest muscle following a mastectomy, and a wireless controller. The device uses compressed carbon dioxide (CO₂) gas within an internal reservoir to fill the expander using the hand-held, wireless dose controller. Patients and physicians can release 10cc of CO2, up to three times per day to gradually inflate the expander, stretching the tissue to prepare for a breast implant. This can be done from any location, such as home or work, and only takes a few seconds.
Use of the system greatly reduces the time needed to reach a fully expanded state, when compared to expansion via saline injection administered by a doctor, and also offers a needle-free alternative to the multiple painful saline injections that could be a barrier to reconstructive surgery for some patients. The system also reduces the time patients need to spend traveling to and waiting at their surgeon’s office. The AeroForm system is a product of AirXpanders (Palo Alto, CA, USA), and has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
“While AeroForm doses are a small 10cc puff each, they add up over time and can get a patient fully expanded within 17 days. A saline device can take upward of three months to reach the same state,” said Scott Dodson, CEO of AirXpanders. “As U.S. mastectomy rates continue to rise and growing numbers of women undergo breast reconstruction, we are confident AeroForm will positively redefine the reconstruction process for women in the U.S.”
“Reconstruction is one of the last phases of a long and sometimes taxing journey for women who are treated for breast cancer,” said Professor Jeffrey Ascherman, MD, of Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC; New York, NY, USA). “They have lost time and control, and are eager to get back to their lives. Needle-free, patient-guided expansion could be a suitable option for many women undergoing the reconstruction process.”
Columbia University Medical Center