Mentor Worldwide announced the U.S. launch of the company’s Artoura Breast Tissue Expander on June 8, 2015. For surgeons who do breast reconstruction, the Artoura is the only expander that provides controlled pocket formation, which Mentor says allows for greater control during the first stage of two-stage breast reconstruction.
Brian Thornton, M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A., a plastic surgeon practicing in Louisville, Ky., and Mentor advisory board member, tells Cosmetic Surgery Times the breast tissue expander is an important option in breast reconstruction.
“While the options for breast implants have evolved notably in recent years, tissue expanders have seen limited and incremental design improvements. The [Mentor Artoura] Breast Tissue Expander represents a new level of innovation for breast reconstruction. It is the first and only expander with internal structural elements that provide precise and controlled expansion. This means more control for surgeons to help with achieving better results for patients,” Dr. Thornton says.
Mentor has tested its expander under varying conditions, according to the plastic surgeon.
“A mechanical model was used to simulate anatomical stresses and measure dimensional distortion of the devices. Thorough benchtop testing was also conducted to verify the safety and performance of the device,” he says.
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Dr. Thornton says Artoura’s built-in features help surgeons create predictable and desirable contours, while preventing unwanted dimensional distortion. The breast tissue expander simplifies breast implant selection and streamlines the implant exchange.
“A fixed lateral footprint allows surgeons to choose the expander that best aligns to the patient’s chest width, and limited expansion in the upper part of the chest (upper pole) helps to create a naturally contoured shape,” he says.
While it’s a new technology and future use could reveal a subset of patients for which the Artoura provides less predictable results, Dr. Thornton says he is hard-pressed to find drawbacks to this technology as it relates to the breast tissue expanders preceding it.
“Unlike other expanders, the structural design controls expansion and prevents undesired expansion laterally and in the upper pole,” he says. “I cannot imagine any patient population that would not benefit from a tissue expander that minimizes expansion in unwanted areas.”
Dr. Thornton’s Tip for Optimal Results
Dr. Thornton, who has experience using the Artoura, offers colleagues this tip for achieving optimal results. The breast tissue expander is available in two projections, which allows for a full profile at a range of fill volumes.
“When removing the air from the device prior to insertion, [Artoura] deflates in a very predictable way. Typically, when an expander is deflated, we have all seen the multiple folds, creases or ridges. All plastic surgeons have a belief that the fold should be inward or outward, etc, but likely the fold is simply an inconvenience and during expansion the device will unfold via the pathway of least resistance,” he says. “This is not so with [Artoura]. From the very first patient expansion, plastic surgeons might feel an increase resistance to expansion. This resistance is due the preferential lower pole expansion with minimal tissue stretch in unnecessary areas of the breast (i.e., upper pole, lateral or medial pole). Overall, the technique for insertion and use is very similar to currently available tissue expanders.”