The Permeability of Tissue Expanders to Bacteria: An Experimental Study

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Infection is an occasional but serious complication of tissue expansion. Bacteria in many cases are found both inside and outside the expander. The mechanism of how they spread inside and out is not fully understood. In the current study, we have assessed both the expander membranes (n = 28) and the port (n = 42) in terms of leakage and transmission of Staphylococcus aureus in normal expansion (100 percent) and overexpansion (400 percent) in an in vitro model. Our results indicate that the membrane was impermeable to S. aureus, whereas the bacteria were able to migrate freely through the puncture sites in the ports. (Plast. Reconstr. Surg. 92: 1294, 1993.)

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