An axisymmetric computational model of skin expansion and growth

L. Socci, G. Pennati, F. Gervaso, P. Vena

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Skin expansion is the principal technique used in plastic surgery to repair large cutaneous defects, typically after tumour removal, burn care, craniofacial surgery and post-mastectomy breast reconstruction. It allows a gain of new tissue by means of gradual expansion of a prosthesis, surgically implanted beneath the patient's skin. Nevertheless, wide clinical use is not supported by a deep quantitative knowledge of the phenomena occurring during the expansion. A finite element model of the skin expansion was developed to evaluate the stresses and the strains of the skin due to the expander inflation and validated by proper in vitro experiments; furthermore, a growth model based on the mechanical stimulus was implemented to estimate the skin area gain. The developed computational approach, composed of the skin expansion model interaction and the growth law, proved its validity to investigate skin expansion phenomena: its use suggests a new predictive tool to optimize clinical procedures and the expander devices' design.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177-188
Number of pages12
JournalBiomechanics and Modeling in Mechanobiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biophysics
  • Computer Science(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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