Breast reconstruction following mastectomy is a deeply personal choice. Reconstruction options span from no reconstruction, to breast mound formation, to complete breast reconstruction with a pigmented nipple. Reconstruction can be immediate (at the time of breast removal) or delayed (after recovery from breast removal). The timing and type of reconstruction options available to the patient are based on a number of factors including tumor location and treatment protocol.
Implant reconstruction uses an implant to replace breast tissue that has been removed. The implant is placed below the pectoralis muscle and skin. Reconstruction can be completed through utilization of a tissue expander or as a direct-to-implant procedure.
If the breast skin and muscle cannot accommodate a patient’s desired implant size, the tissues can be expanded to create space for a larger implant. This is accomplished by initially placing a tissue expander in the breast pocket, instead of an implant. The tissue expander has a port that can be accessed with a needle though the skin, and can be filled with fluid slowly over time. Once the desired size is achieved, the tissue expander is removed and an implant is placed in a second operation.
In patients undergoing immediate reconstruction, an implant can sometimes be placed at the time of breast removal without the use of an expander. This is done with the aid of biologic grafts that create sufficient space for the implant.
The following images are an artistic representation of procedure results and are intended for educational purposes only. These are not actual patients and are not intended to guarantee results that may be obtained with surgery. Out of respect for patient privacy, Dr. Vial does not publish patient photos on the internet.
Placement of an implant below the muscle with the aid of an acellular dermal matrix to create an implant pocket.