Breast reconstruction surgery with breast implants is becoming increasing popular among women who have had a mastectomy. The procedure is known to have very effective results that look very much like natural breasts. There are two types of implant reconstruction procedures: direct-to-implant reconstruction, which utilizes the remaining skin in the area as the pocket for the implant; and tissue expansion, which expands the skin in the area enough to accommodate a breast implant. Doctors at the Ohio State University Department of Plastic Surgery are specialty-trained in a full range of breast reconstruction procedures and can talk with you about your options.
Implant Reconstruction Candidates
Women who are candidates for implant breast reconstruction procedures are typically those who have undergone a total mastectomy and have enough excess tissue in the area to provide a pocket for the breast implant. Even in some cases where there is not enough tissue for an implant, a tissue expansion procedure can help to provide them with an adequate amount of breast skin to accommodate an implant. Implant breast reconstruction can be a viable alternative for patients who are very thin and may not have an adequate amount of donor tissue in the abdomen for a TRAM Flap procedure. Patients who have had radiation therapy in the chest wall, and those who will have that treatment in the future, are not good candidates for tissue expansion implant reconstruction. However, for patients who may not be candidates for this procedure, there is a variety of alternative breast reconstruction options our doctors can perform that can offer beautiful, natural-looking results.
Direct to Implant
Once a mastectomy has been performed, many women have enough remaining skin in the breast area to be able to accommodate a breast implant. The breast implant will be inserted into the pocket created by the remaining tissue. Breast implantation can be performed either during the mastectomy procedure or after, depending on your needs. Our plastic and reconstructive surgery team will work closely with your oncologist and other medical professionals in your care to ensure that you attain the safest procedures and best possible results.
For patients who may not have enough skin in the breast area after a mastectomy, breast reconstruction with tissue expansion can often provide enough skin to accommodate a breast implant. This is a multi-stage procedure that involves the insertion of a silicone balloon in the breast area. The balloon will be injected with a saline solution after insertion. This process will be repeated over a series of treatments at our office in the following months, gradually expanding and stretching the skin to form a breast pocket for the implant. Tissue expansion usually takes about six to eight weeks for the skin to reach the proper proportions. Once this occurs, the breast implant can be placed.
Types of Implants
There are two main types of breast implants that can be placed during implant breast reconstruction, and they are available in a variety of sizes and shapes. They are:
Composed of a silicone outer shell, saline breast implants are filled with a saltwater solution and are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. These are the most common types of implants available, and have a strong record of safety and effectiveness.
Silicone breast implants are made of a silicone outer shell and contain a thick silicone gel. Approved by the FDA since 2006, silicone breast implants are also considered very safe and very effective. Silicone implants are also known for their very natural-looking results.
Your OSU plastic surgeon will be happy to answer your questions about the types of breast implants available, and explain all the advantages and disadvantages of each, at your initial consultation. Our doctor can also go over the various sizes and shapes, and help you determine which may be the best option for your needs.
Implant Breast Reconstruction Recovery
The recovery process for implant breast reconstruction surgery will depend on a variety of factors, including whether you have the implants placed during mastectomy or after, and whether you require tissue expansion. However, implant reconstruction is known to have a faster recovery period and less surgery when compared to flap reconstruction procedures. In many cases, patients should plan to spend at least two weeks resting at home. After that, you should feel much more comfortable, and within about four to six weeks, you should be able to fully resume normal daily routines.
Schedule an Implant Reconstruction Consultation
If you would like to schedule a consultation to discuss implant breast reconstruction with one of our plastic and reconstructive surgeons, please contact us today. Doctors at the Ohio State University Department of Plastic Surgery can help you rebuild what you have lost with compassionate care from a team of experienced, specialty-trained breast reconstruction surgeons.