Through breast reconstruction, Drs. Burt and Will are proud to help reduce the impact of breast cancer and other diseases which might lead to the removal or breast tissue. After a mastectomy, breast reconstruction provides women with breasts that, in form and appearance, closely match natural breasts.
Tissue Expander Implant Reconstruction
After a mastectomy, the most common way that a breast can be reconstructed is with an implant. The implant replaces the breast tissue that is removed during the mastectomy, restoring the shape and volume of the breast. Breast reconstruction with a tissue expander and implant may be a good option for you if, after the mastectomy, you have enough healthy skin and tissue to cover and support a breast implant and you do not need radiation therapy. There is a high chance of developing problems with implant reconstruction after receiving radiation therapy.
What Exactly Are Tissue Expanders
Tissue expanders have a silicone outer shell and either an internal valve or external port to allow for saline fluid injections that stretch the skin over a period of time. Dr. Burt will match your tissue expander to the shape of your chosen breast implant. Both devices come in round, oval and anatomical shapes. They can also have smooth or textured surfaces. The tissue expander is not intended to be permanent and will be removed once it is ready to be replaced with the permanent breast implant.
Placement of the Tissue Expander
The tissue expander is inserted beneath the muscle in the chest wall muscles. It is then positioned within a pocket of tissue where support from the muscle prevents it from shifting or moving out of place. A valve through which saline will be injected is then placed either within the breast or externally.
The Expansion Process
Approximately four weeks after the incisions have healed from the tissue expander placement procedure, saline will gradually be injected into the tissue expander. This will begin to stretch the surrounding tissue and create space for the permanent breast implant. The expansion process will be done as an in-office procedure over a period of two to six months. Each expansion can be done once a week, but if you prefer more time in between expansions, that’s okay too. The number of expansions you will need depends on the size you desire to be. You may feel slight discomfort from muscles being stretched, but this usually subsides in one to two days.
Replacing the Tissue Expander with Implants
Once your chest tissue has been stretch to the desired size, your expander and valve will be removed. Dr. Burt will then insert the breast implant into the space created by the tissue expander. This surgery is typically done four to six weeks after the last saline fill of the expander. The removal of the tissue expander and replacement with the breast implant is done as an outpatient procedure which typically takes about one hour per breast. Once you have recovered from the anesthesia you should be able to go home.
Learn More about Breast Surgery at Burt & Will Plastic Surgery
There are many reasons one might consider breast surgery. At Burt & Will Plastic Surgery and Dermatology, we are here to meet the needs of each of our diverse patients. Serving Naperville and other areas around Chicago, we are leading cosmetic and reconstructive breast surgery providers. To speak with our caring and experienced professionals, contact Burt & Will Plastic Surgery and Dermatology today.