Breast Reconstruction with Implants is one the primary options in 2009.
The process usually takes at least 2 if not 3 steps to complete over a 6 to 12 month time period. At the first surgery, which usually takes place at the time of the mastectomy, a tissue expander is placed. An expander is a special implant type that has a built in fill port that allows for filling with a needle and a syringe. After surgery, usually starting at about a month out, we access the expander and add saline to it. We do this each week until the volume in the affected breast is similar to the unaffected side. When we reach this point it is time for an exchange.
At the exchange operation we remove the expander, make necessary adjustments to the implant pocket, and place a permanent implant. At this point, if you choose, we can quit. Often times though a third surgery is chosen so we can adjust the unaffected breast for better symmetry and to re-create a nipple on the affected side.
Lee Corbett, MD