Before & After
Copyright © Wojciech Dec, M.D. | 100 East 77th Street • New York, NY 10075 | (212) 390-8400
Tissue Expander and Implant Reconstruction
There are two broad categories of breast reconstruction: implant based reconstruction and natural tissue based reconstruction.
Typically, implant based reconstruction is performed as a two stage procedure. In the first stage, at the time of the mastectomy, a tissue expander is placed in the breast pocket. A tissue expander is a temporary implant, which can gradually stretch tissues. The recovery from this procedure is similar to the recovery from a mastectomy alone. After this surgery you should expect to remain in the hospital overnight and go home with drains.
Following a period of healing your plastic surgeon will fill the tissue expander with saline during a series of office visits. This will stretch the remaining tissues until it creates a breast with a size and shape that is appropriate for you.
In a second stage operation the tissue expander is removed and replaced by a breast implant. The breast implant is soft and resembles a breast in its appearance and feel. Recovery from this stage is much shorter; patients typically go home the day of surgery and no drains are used. In select patients, a single stage breast reconstruction can be performed, which eliminates the need to use a tissue expander; this is known as “immediate direct to implant breast reconstruction.”
Implant based breast reconstruction may not be an ideal option for women who were treated or expect to be treated with radiation therapy, are undergoing delayed reconstruction, have previously had healing problems with implant based reconstruction, or have high body mass index (BMI).
The choice of which breast reconstruction is best can be difficult. Dr. Dec will help guide you to choose the best reconstruction for you.