UH is first in Northeast Ohio to Offer New Breast Surgery Recovery Device

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

AeroForm decreases office visits, pain and the risk of infection

CLEVELAND — When Shareen Hood had a unilateral mastectomy a year ago, she couldn't get her head around spending another minute in doctors' offices or in pain. For that reason, she chose not to have breast implants after surgery. Little did she know that by waiting, she would one day have the option to reverse that decision while avoiding what she considered to be major drawbacks - pain and inconvenience.
University Hospitals Plastic Surgeon Joseph Khouri, MD, explained that patients typically are implanted with tissue expanders either over or under the muscle at the time of surgery. At weekly office visits for up to eight weeks, they are subjected to needle sticks and injections of up to 300 cc fluid in order to expand the breast volume in anticipation of a second stage to place a permanent implant.
"It's painful. It takes time out of patients' schedules. It takes four to five days to recover each time. And it increases risk of needle-born infections which can postpone reconstruction six months," Dr. Khouri said. “We have a better way."
All of that can now be reduced with the recently FDA approved AeroForm - an air expander placed over the muscle during the initial breast surgery.  UH Department of Plastic Surgery is the first Northeast Ohio medical group approved to offer the procedure out of the trial phase, meaning the procedure is covered by insurance.
"What we've done is revolutionary," said UH Plastic Surgeon Tobias Long, MD. "It gives the patient the ability to expand at home with remote control, using carbon dioxide, releasing a thimble size of air up to four times a day as opposed to saline which is heavy and painful."
Shareen is happy with her results. "There is really no pain while filling it up. No needles. And no weekly office visits,” she said. She will soon undergo replacement of her AeroForm expander with a permanent smooth silicone implant, with a matching breast lift on the other side.

"We do this 100 percent for our patients," said Dr. Khouri. "The cost is the same. It's simply to decrease infections and increase quality of life."

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