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Open Access Highly Accessed Short report

Radiation testing of the AeroForm co2-based breast tissue expander implant

James L Rembert1, Roxana Heitz2 and Adam Hoffman2*

Author Affiliations

1 Alta Bates Summit Comprehensive Cancer Center, 2001 Dwight Way, Berkeley, CA 94704, USA

2 AirXpanders, Inc, 1047 Elwell Court, Palo Alto, CA 94303, USA

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Radiation Oncology 2013, 8:235  doi:10.1186/1748-717X-8-235

Published: 11 October 2013

Abstract

Background

Tissue expanders are used in breast reconstruction after mastectomy to stretch the remaining tissue to create space for placement of permanent breast implants. The AeroForm™ Tissue Expander, developed by AirXpanders™ Inc., contains electronic components designed to activate the release of carbon dioxide from an internal reservoir to inflate the expander. Breast cancer patients who undergo mastectomy and tissue expander/implant-based breast reconstruction may require radiation therapy at doses up to 50–60 Gy while the expander is in place. The ionizing radiation used in postmastectomy radiation therapy interacts with electronic components in medical implants, which may cause degradation in performance above certain levels. Most commercial electronic components used in medical devices, such as complementary metal-oxide semiconductor or bipolar integrated circuits can withstand radiation levels in the 50 Gy range without any performance degradation. Beyond this level, the performance may still be sufficient to guarantee functionality, but this needs to be confirmed at the system and electronic circuit level. We assessed the impact of radiation levels up to 75 Gy on 32 AeroForm™ Tissue Expanders (AirXpanders, Inc., Palo Alto, CA USA) and on the associated internal printed circuit assemblies.

Findings

The electronics inside the AeroForm™ Tissue Expander implant continued to function properly after exposure to radiation levels up to 75 Gy, which is well above the maximum total dose level typically used in postmastectomy radiation therapy.

Conclusions

Standard postmastectomy radiation therapy doses do not damage or affect the functionality of the AeroForm™ Tissue Expander.

Keywords:
Tissue expander; Breast reconstruction; Radiation therapy; Ionizing radiation; Electronics; Circuit