What is Breast Implant Reconstruction?

What is Breast Implant Reconstruction?

If a woman is suffering from a serious stage of breast cancer or she has developed signs of breast cancer, the doctor often suggests undergoing a surgery (termed as mastectomy), which removes the affected breast. Losing a breast or a part of it brings significant change in your body and in your looks. Choosing to undergo a plastic surgery which will help you reconstruct your breast or replace the lost tissues and skin is the procedure of breast reconstruction. There are two kinds of breast reconstruction surgeries:

Flap Surgery: In this method, tissues and skin from other area of your body are grafted here. Even your nipple can be reconstructed this way. The following procedure may require a number of surgeries in order to get the symmetry right

Breast Implant: There are several methods of breast reconstruction using implants. Surgeons often use silicone gel or saline. Breast implant reconstruction can be done at the same time as the cancer surgery. You may also choose to have it later, after your cancer surgery is over and you have healed.

What is Breast Implant Reconstruction?

What are the Types of Implants That Are Used for Breast Implant Reconstruction?

The various types of breast implant reconstruction techniques used to rebuild a breast mainly include a silicone outer shell which is flexible. This silicone shell is filled with:

Saline or Salt Water Which Is Sterilized And Germ-Free: Such kinds of breast implants are known to have been used for the longest period of time.

Silicone Gel: This gel gives a feel which is more like natural breast tissue. The recent versions of silicone gels resulted in cohesive gel implants. This is not only new, but a thicker kind of silicone implant. The thickest kind of silicone gel implant is often commonly called as ‘gummy bear’ implants. The surgical term of such implant is form-stable implant. Such implants are known to maintain their form and shape even if the outer shell gets broken or is cut open. Silicone gel implants are firmer than regular saline implants as they are less likely to rupture though a break is possible at times.

Both silicone and saline breast implants provide various shapes and sizes along with smooth or textured surfaces. Silicone filled breast implants if broken often raises questions of probable health issues. Recent studies have confirmed that silicone implants if broken or leaked do not pose any threat and the implantation methods are sanctioned for use by the US Food and Drug Administration since 2006.

What are the Various Kinds of Breast Implant Surgeries?

Direct-To-Implant Reconstruction or Immediate Breast Implant Reconstruction: This kind of breast implant reconstruction is done or started as the same time as the mastectomy is done to remove the cancer. The breast implant is to be placed at the same time as the cancer surgery. As soon as the surgeon removes the breast tissue from the affected breast, the plastic surgeon places the breast implant. Usually the implant is placed under the muscle of your chest. To hold the implant in place, a hammock or a sling like object is used, which a special kind of graft is either made from skin or from some absorbable mesh. This procedure helps in gaining better looking result.

Delayed Breast Reconstruction- After the cancer surgery is over; the breast implant reconstruction procedure is done some time later. When the implantation is being done separately from the mastectomy, a short-term tissue expander is used. This expander is like a balloon which sits off like a flat sac and slowly expands to make the skin gain the desired size. As the skin over the breast is stretched, the expander is removed and the second surgery is done to place a permanent implant. This method is adopted when other treatments options are needed to be availed by the patient.

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:March 16, 2018

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