Prosthetic Breast Reconstruction
What is Prosthetic Breast Reconstruction?
Prosthetic breast reconstruction involves the use of implants to restore the breast following a mastectomy. It can be performed at the time of the mastectomy or at a later date. Much like breast augmentation, patients we see from Washington, DC; Chevy Chase and Bethesda, MD; Arlington and Fairfax, VA; and surrounding areas will have the choice of saline or silicone implants. There are also different locations for implant placement (subcutaneous or “pre-pectoral,” below the muscle or “sub-muscular”). Your surgeon will discuss with you why one of these options may be advantageous for your particular care and treatment.
Who is a Candidate?
Candidates for prosthetic breast reconstruction are those who wish to restore the appearance of their breasts following a mastectomy procedure. Most women are candidates for prosthetic reconstruction with the exception of those who may have failed this type of reconstruction in the past, or those who have had previous radiation to their chest or breasts.
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Patients undergoing prosthetic breast reconstruction will have many options when it comes to the material, size, shape, and texture of their implants. Patients can choose from saline and silicone depending on their desired aesthetic and body type.
- Tissue Expander: In many cases, prosthetic breast reconstruction is performed in stages, with the first stage being the placement of a tissue expander at the time of mastectomy. Once the tissue expander is placed in the breast area, it will act like a balloon, gradually stretching the skin and create the breast mound. To do this, the surgeon will fill the tissue expander with a saline solution over the course of several weeks until the desired size has been reached. Once this is complete, the expander will be removed and an implant can be placed.
- Direct-to-Implant: Direct-to-implant can be done in certain cases where there is enough skin laxity and room for implant placement without the need for an expander. This procedure is performed at the time of the mastectomy.
Results and Recovery
After breast reconstruction with implants, the newly constructed breast will be swollen, bruised, and sore for the next week. Over the course of recovery, swelling will continue to diminish and patients can experience the true results of their newly constructed breast. Any scarring should fade with time and be well hidden in the natural crease of the breast.
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