Retrospective analysis of tissue expansion in reconstructive burn surgery: evaluation of complication rates

Burns. 2008 Dec;34(8):1113-8. doi: 10.1016/j.burns.2008.05.008. Epub 2008 Aug 15.


Tissue expansion is a widespread and accepted concept in reconstructive surgery, but is also afflicted with a variety of complications. In burn patients, this technique allows large areas of burn scar to be replaced by tissue of similar texture and colour to the defect. We retrospectively reviewed our results with tissue expanders in 57 burn patients over a period of 8 years including 102 expanders. Statistical analyses revealed a significant influence of the anatomical region (p=0.0156; Chi-square=15.6811) and of the expander volume (p=0.0417; Chi-square=18.8918) on the failure rate outcome. Factors such as age, gender, number of expanders per patient and shape of expander showed no statistical correlation in relation to the failure rate (p-values >0.05). Furthermore, we present a short review of the recent literature of complications after tissue expansion. The presented study may help to draw attention on different aspects in tissue expansion and critically focus on each step of the tissue expansion procedure from implantation over inflation to explantation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Burns / complications
  • Burns / surgery*
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cicatrix / etiology
  • Cicatrix / surgery*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tissue Expansion / adverse effects*
  • Tissue Expansion Devices / adverse effects*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult