Breast Reconstruction after Mastectomy with Tissue Expanders/ Breast ImplantsBreast reconstruction with tissue expanders and breast implants is the most common type of reconstruction performed after mastectomy. Most patients are candidates for this operation, which can be done in one or two stages, depending on your individual anatomy. When done as a two-staged operation, a temporary spacer called a tissue expander is placed in your breast pocket after the breast tissue is removed by your breast surgeon. The tissue expander looks like a deflated water balloon with a rubber port. The expander is partially filled with saline during the first operation and the incision is then closed with stitches. Over the next few weeks, the tissue expander is slowly inflated at your office visits until your desired size is obtained. Once you reach your desired breast size, you have your second stage surgery which involves removing the tissue expander and replacing it with a permanent saline or silicone gel implant. When done as a one-stage operation, the breast implant is inserted directly into the skin envelope at the time of the mastectomy. You may discuss whether you are a candidate for one stage direct-to-implant reconstruction with your surgeon.
Did You Know…That the quality of silicone gel implants has improved dramatically since they were first introduced in the 1970s? The implants we use today have a very low rate of leakage or rupture.