Breast Reconstruction with Implants

Breast reconstruction by permanent implants may be performed in one of two ways.


The breast can be immediately reconstructed with the use of a permanent implant, which is referred to as one-stage breast reconstruction; or it can be reconstructed after completion of a tissue expansion process known as two-stage breast reconstruction.


In one-stage breast reconstruction, your surgeon could immediately reconstruct the breast with the use of a permanent implant.  In this case, the patient may skip the expansion process and experience a fully reconstructed breast following mastectomy.


During two-stage breast reconstruction, an expander (similar to an implant, but not permanent) is inserted sub-muscularly. The expander, which stretches the skin and muscle of the chest, is filled with saline over time until the desired breast size is obtained. Tissue expansion can be done at the time of mastectomy or later.


The expansion process

Depending on the desired breast size, the expansion process can take several weeks. Using a tiny port beneath the skin, your doctor will slowly inflate the expander using a salt water solution. As the expander is inflated, the tissues will stretch. You should expect to return to the clinic weekly during the expansion process.


Once the expansion process is complete, you will return for a second surgery - generally 4-6 months later - to remove the expander and insert a permanent silicone or saline breast implant.


Silicone gel and saline breast implants are both FDA approved.  Please consult with your physician to determine which implant is right for you.


Breast Reconstruction with Implants