Implant Reconstruction After Cancer

Patients who need a mastectomy may want to consider tissue flap surgery or implants for breast reconstruction. With tissue flap surgery, the breast is reshaped using fat, skin and muscle from another area of the body. Implant reconstruction on the other hand, is less intrusive than flap reconstruction as it does not involve donor tissue. Instead, it only involves the chest area.

If you are considering implant reconstruction, please be aware that like traditional breast augmentation, implant reconstruction does not last forever. Both saline and silicone implants may eventually need to be replaced. Also, implants can develop scar tissue around the implant, which could require another surgery.

Generally, implants are filled with saline (salt water), silicone gel, or a combination of saline and silicone. When patients opt for implant reconstruction over flap surgery, the implants are placed beneath the chest muscle. The recovery for implant reconstruction is usually shorter than it is for flap reconstruction.

Implants May Be Good for Thin Women

Some women have the choice between flap reconstruction and implant reconstruction. However, for thin women with small breasts, implant reconstruction may be the obvious choice because thin women often don’t have enough tissue available on their abdomens, backs, buttocks or thighs to form a nice breast shape.

You may be a good candidate for implant reconstruction if:

  • You do not want to sacrifice the muscle function in donor sites.
  • You do not want additional incisions and scars on donor sites.
  • Your oncologist says you do not need radiation therapy. Implants can develop problems after radiation.
  • You want a simpler surgical procedure than flap reconstruction.
  • You’re willing to have surgery on both breasts (including the healthy breast) to achieve symmetry and balance.

To learn more about the options available after a mastectomy, talk to your oncologist and reach out to our office to schedule a consultation with our Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Yuly Gorodisky.