Prosthetic Reconstruction Using Breast Implants in Washington DC

For many women, the best option for reconstructing the most natural appearing breast involves the use of saline or silicone breast implants, the same used for breast augmentation. The implants available today are superior in terms of safety, durability, and ability to look and feel like a natural breast.

Both the implants and the techniques for placement are highly refined and have been proven to be both safe and successful over the years. There are a variety of FDA approved implants in terms of type, filling solution and surface texture, and by and large women are pleased with the natural feel and appearance that implants can offer.

During your office consultation, we will provide you with a complete package of information on the history, technology, safety and types of implants.

Tissue Expander Technique

This is the most common prosthetic breast reconstruction technique in current use. It provides the most control over breast size and shape. Initially, an expandable implant, called a “tissue expander,” is placed under the skin and muscle at the time of the mastectomy, or later if delayed reconstruction is chosen. In many cases, a sterile donor tissue known as acellular dermal matrix (ADM) may be used underneath the skin to provide additional coverage of the tissue expander.

At the time of placement, the tissue expander is filled with a sterile saline solution. This stretches the skin and provides some initial size and shape. Over a period of several months, sterile saline is gradually added to the expander through a small valve that is accessed underneath the skin. This procedure takes about five minutes in the physician’s office. The tissue expander can be filled as often as necessary until the reconstruction site matches the optimal breast volume.

When the tissue over the chest wall is fully expanded, the breast implant can be placed by reopening the mastectomy surgical scar and exchanging the tissue expander for the implant. Additional work may be done to improve the shape of the breast at this stage. Both stages of the tissue expander technique are relatively simple procedures that require, at most, an overnight hospital stay.

Implant Placement at the Time of Mastectomy

Some patients are candidates for direct implant placement at the time of the mastectomy. In this technique, an implant is placed, with the surgeon using a construct of the chest wall muscle (pectoralis major muscle) and an ADM to cover and support the implant.

For a direct implant placement to be possible, there must be enough remaining skin after mastectomy to sufficiently cover the breast implant. However, with advancements in skin-sparing and nipple-sparing mastectomies, this is increasingly becoming an option.

If you are researching your choices for breast reconstruction in the Washington DC/ northern Virginia area, we encourage you to discuss your options with us at an in-office consultation. We will spend time with you to help you learn more about implant-based reconstruction as well as autologous reconstruction techniques, so you can make the right decision for your needs.

†Cost estimates are all-inclusive ballpark figures. Actual procedures to be performed and costs vary depending on individual patient needs. Our Patient Coordinator will provide a fee quote after your consultation with the physician.