October Q&A: Breast Reconstruction
Posted September 23, 2020
What is the Most Common Method of Breast Reconstruction?
Generally, there are two ways to build a breast, one is implant-based and the other is flap based. Implant-based is the most common reconstruction method used today. This procedure starts with the placement of a tissue expander in the breast pocket which is generally done at the time of the mastectomy. This procedure can also be done for women who have already had a mastectomy and chose to do reconstruction at a later date.
Several office visits are required, typically once a week, to have the plastic surgeon add more saline to the expander. The saline slowly fills the expander which creates a larger pocket and fuller shape over time. These in-office procedures are painless and require no downtime. Once the expanders are filled to the desired size, an outpatient surgical procedure is required to replace the expander with a silicone implant. The final size of the expander/implant is determined by the woman’s preference. The opposite breast is covered by insurance if an operation is needed to create symmetry. This is also done at the time of the second operation when the expander is exchanged for the implant.
The plastic surgeon will continue to follow your progress and monitor you throughout the process. Once you have had the implant placed, you will continue to be monitored by both the plastic surgeon as well as your oncologist.