Breast Reconstruction after a mastectomy is typically done with either breast implants, or your own tissue; sometimes these techniques are combined.
Due to the commonness of breast augmentation with implants, many patients naturally think of using breast implants when they think of breast reconstruction.
However, using breast implants for breast reconstruction after mastectomy is very different from a breast augmentation, as we need to re-create an entire breast from a flat chest.
This is done in 2 steps: the first step is placing a temporary saline implant, called a tissue expander, at the time of mastectomy. Following this, the expander is then slowly filled with saline over a period of 8-12 weeks as an outpatient, in the office. Once you have the size you desire, the 2nd step is then taken – we remove the saline tissue expander and replace it with the breast implant of your choice (e.g. silicone, saline, round, or teardrop).Click edit button to change this text.
What are the advantages of using breast implants for reconstruction?
The primary advantage of using implants is that we have much greater control over the size of your breast. Within reason, we can often obtain any size you want in terms of breast and cup size. Additionally, some patients prefer to have a ‘perkier’ result and implants will often provide this.
Am I good candidate for reconstruction with breast implants?
It is important to discuss your goals with your surgeon in order to make sure your reconstructive goals are met while still working within your expectations for your recovery and downtime. Implant-based reconstruction is a relatively short surgery and only requires a 1-night stay in the hospital.
Unfortunately, not every patient is a candidate for this operation. For example, if you have had, or need to have, radiation to the breast, then oftentimes an implant is avoided completely, or the approach needs to be modified. Similarly, some patients simply do not want to have an implant.
Whether or not Implant Reconstruction makes sense in your case will be determined as you consult with Dr. Correa.
Dr. Correa’s philosophy on Breast Reconstruction
“Breast reconstruction represents one of the most rewarding aspects of reconstructive surgery, and provides an important ‘silver lining’ to the rigors and hardships of treating your breast cancer.”
Many patients get a referral from their breast surgeon for a plastic surgeon who performs breast reconstruction. However, some patients have undergone their therapy and never had breast reconstruction. Regardless, it is ok to take the initiative and request a consultation directly from Dr. Correa.
Breast reconstruction is a very complex process and it can feel overwhelming to try and figure out what is best for you and what to expect. However, you do not need to do this all on your own and Dr. Correa takes pride in his ability to explain your options in a way that allows you to make your decision with confidence.