Breast Reconstruction using Implants
If the procedure is performed during breast cancer surgery, and you have sufficient tissue to cover the implant, your doctor will place the implant under your chest muscles after removal of the breast tissue.
If you have lost a significant amount of tissue or skin, your doctor will place a tissue expander between your chest muscles and skin. This will gradually be filled with saline over a period of weeks to stretch out the skin until it can accommodate an implant. Once the skin is stretched enough, the tissue expander is exchanged for the implant.
If you require radiation therapy, your doctor may recommend you receive it while the tissue expander is in place. The final implant is then placed after the completion of therapy.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Implants for Breast Reconstruction
Implant-based reconstruction is less complex and does not involve the removal of donor tissue from any other part of your body, such as in a flap reconstruction. However, implants can wear out and develop complications over time, requiring repeat surgery. It is also not a good option if you require radiation therapy.