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Plastic-cosmetic changes to the body by means of pressure and pulling forces

The medical field uses both natural (3.1) and special expanders (3.2) to correct body parts through mechanical pressure and pulling forces.

  • An example of the effective use of natural pressure in orthopaedics can be found in the field of paediatric orthopaedics. With the help of an insole, the orthopaedic specialist uses the patient’s weight and pressure on the foot to turn it back into a healthy shape.
  • Specialized medical pulling and stretching devices (extender, expander) are used in various fields. They are separated into two groups, external and internal (implanted) expander devices .
    • External expanders are orthopaedic stretching devices, applied externally and connected to the body for a permanent or limited amount of time. Examples of readily removable devices are braces that are not permanently connected to the teeth, correcting malformations of the teeth or a deformation of the jaw (pic. 7).

      External expanders that are permanently connected to the body are being used for so-called limb extensions. These devices are externally fastened onto an extremity (i.e. a shortened or deformed leg) and screwed into the bone. Bone, muscle, and tissue will grow and change their shape (pic. 8).
    • Implanted expanders are used for reconstructive surgery (i.e. a mastectomy after breast cancer). In this case, the implanted expander is an expandable synthetic cushion, implanted under the patient’s skin. Over the course of several months the skin grows again due to the continued pressure from within and creates a cavity. After the expander is removed (pic. 9), a permanent silicone implant is inserted into the cavity to substitute the removed breast tissue (pic. 10 ). With the help of an implanted skin expander inside a suitable area (i.e. the face), "surplus" body tissue can be grown. This additional tissue can be transplanted to another location in the body and will not cause a rejection by the body like tissue from a donor (pic. 11).
Functional principlePlastic-cosmetic changes to the body by means of pressure and pulling forces