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.)