breast reconstruction

Reconstruction using Breast Implants

Re-create the shape and size of a breast lost to cancer.

Implant Based Reconstruction

Some women who choose breast reconstruction will prefer to have their reconstructive surgery using breast implants. At the Institute of Reconstructive Plastic Surgery of Central Texas, we offer the latest silicone gel and saline breast implant options for our reconstructive patients.

Contact us online today to learn more about your options for breast reconstruction. Our team of plastic surgeons helps men and women from Austin, Round Rock and throughout Texas.

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Benefits of Implant Based Reconstruction

Some women choose to have their breasts reconstructed using implants, rather than their own tissue. For women who have had radiation in the past, the best and safest option for reconstruction will use their own tissue, rather than an implant. For women who require radiation after mastectomy but do not want to use their own tissue, our surgeons will carefully discuss the option for implant based reconstruction with you.

For women who do not require radiation, implant reconstruction is a popular and safe choice. It requires several smaller surgeries and a slightly shorter hospital stay. Our surgeons are skilled in breast reconstruction using both silicone gel and saline implants. Our surgeons also perform direct to implant reconstruction when possible.

Understanding the Procedure

Implant based reconstruction is a popular choice for breast reconstruction when a women does not want to use her own tissue. Implant based reconstruction should be performed immediately at the time of mastectomy. After your breast surgeon performs the mastectomy, your plastic surgeon from the Institute of Reconstructive Surgery begins your reconstruction.

The pectoralis muscle is elevated to allow for placement of a tissue expander beneath it. The muscle covers the upper portion of the tissue expander, and the lower portion is often covered by a biologic product or mesh to support the implant and improve contour. The expander is inflated partially, but not completely, because after a mastectomy the breast skin is very delicate and pressure must be avoided.  Drains are place and the breast skin in closed. Patients usually remain in the hospital 1 to 2 days following reconstruction with a tissue expander or implant.

The skin is allowed to heal for 3 to 4 weeks and your progress will be checked weekly at our offices. Drains are typically removed during the first 1 to 2 weeks. After 3 to 4 weeks, the expansion process begins. During weekly visits to our offices, we inject sterile salt water into the expander, allowing it to gently re-expand the breast skin. This process may take between 2 and 4 expansions depending on the ultimate size desired. Once the breasts are expanded to the desired volume, the second waiting period begins. The expanded breast is allowed to heal for 2 to 3 months. During this time, visits to the doctor are less frequent.

After this important period of healing, a second smaller surgery is performed in an outpatient setting and the patient goes home the same day. During this surgery, the expander is removed and replaced with a permanent implant. A patient may choose either a silicone gel or saline implant for her final implant. Many women prefer the new form-stable silicone gel implants for reconstruction, because they look and feel most natural.

The final stage of reconstruction occurs several months later when nipple reconstruction or nipple tattooing is performed.

Recovery and Results

You will typically stay in the hospital for 1 to 2 days following mastectomy and tissue expander placement. As described above, the process of expansion is gradual and your breast reconstruction will take several months. When your tissue expander is replaced with a permanent implant, you will notice an immediate change in the softness and appearance of your breasts, as your final breast contour begins to appear.

Breast reconstruction using an a tissue expander/implant from the Institute of Reconstructive Plastic Surgery of Central Texas can help to give women a sense of feeling whole again following breast cancer treatment, with beautiful, natural results.