Scalp tightness can limit what will be achieved surgically, even with the best surgical techniques and a strongly motivated patient. The process of Scalp Expansion was pioneered by our surgeons 25 years ago, and provides the opportunity to decrease or eliminate baldness that previously was beyond surgical repair. The skin will stretch as long as this progresses slowly. Pregnancy and obesity are two examples of this naturally occurring phenomenon. Taking advantage of this characteristic of skin, the surgeon can increase the quantity of hair-bearing scalp on the sides and back of the head, creating additional hair-bearing scalp.
This technique is frequently used with scalp reconstruction in addition to cosmetic hair replacement for the treatment of baldness, which is the focus of this discussion.
Under sterile conditions in the doctor’s state-of-the-art patient surgery suite, a deflated “balloon” (tissue expander) is placed under the scalp to be stretched. This expander cannot be seen because the entire unit is placed under the scalp. Beverly Hills tissue expansion patients can return to normal, non-traumatic activities the day after surgery. The expander is gradually filled by periodically injecting small amounts of sterile water. This is done in the office or in the privacy of the patient’s home by a friend or family member.
After several weeks, during a second procedure of tissue expansion in Beverly Hills, the expander is removed and the additional hair-bearing scalp, created by the expansion, is used to eliminate baldness with a Scalp Reduction or a Flap. After removal of the expander, the area which was stretched remains normal, without distortion or deformity.
The expansion of normal hair-bearing scalp is an extremely valuable technique for use in both reconstructive surgery, and the treatment of male-pattern baldness.