Many women who undergo single or double mastectomies turn to breast implants for breast reconstruction. While select patients may receive single-stage direct-to-implant (DTI) breast reconstruction, tissue expansion is most commonly the first step in implant-based breast reconstruction. This procedures utilizes a balloon-like devise that is inserted beneath the skin and chest muscle to stretch the skin and muscle, making room for a permanent implant. It has a one-way valve through which a saline solution is instilled. Over a period of time between two to six months, your surgeon will gradually fill the expander with a saline solution. As the device expands, the overlying skin is stretched into the desired shape of a breast.
When expansion is complete, you’ll have a second surgery to remove the temporary device. During this procedure, the breast tissue expander is replaced with a permanent breast implant. The patient will recover in approximately four weeks. In addition to implant-based breast reconstruction, patients may also choose to investigate other breast reconstruction options, such as nipple reconstruction.
To learn more about this procedure and schedule a consultation at Loren S. Schechter, M.D. Plastic Surgery, located in Chicago, contact us today.