After deciding to proceed with a breast reconstruction, it’s one of the first and largest decisions facing our patients in Dallas: breast reconstruction with tissue expanders and implants or using your own tissues? Though in some cases it may be necessary to use a combination of both methods (see Latissimus Flap Reconstruction), most often, one or the other is used. With advantages and disadvantages to each approach, and results likely lasting a lifetime, it’s an understandably difficult decision to make.
At the Texas Center for Breast Reconstruction, we’re proud to help women like you on your journey to wholeness and will be with you each step of the way. Below, we’ve provided some information to assist you in your decision making process, but if you prefer, you’re always welcome to call us at 972.566.3939 with questions or to schedule a consultation.
What to Expect in Breast Reconstruction with Tissue Expanders
Dallas implant breast reconstruction patients are often faced with the issue of insufficient skin or tissue around the breast after a mastectomy to allow for immediate placement of an implant. Thanks to our innovative tissue expansion process, this is only a temporary hurdle instead of a brick wall to halt your progress. This method of reconstruction is achieved through the following stages:
- Insertion: a tissue expander, very similar to an implant but initially containing only a small amount of fluid, is inserted beneath your skin where the new breast will be located.
- Expansion: after your incisions heal from the insertion stage, your doctor will begins the process of expansion. This is achieved in short 10-15 minute appointments every 1-2 weeks by injecting additional saline into the expander to increase its size, also causing expansion of the overlying skin. Patients usually find the expansion to be relatively painless.
- Completion: once the expander reaches your desired size, your surgeon will remove it and replace it with your permanent implant.
For women who lack sufficient tissue elsewhere on their bodies or who would rather avoid the scars associated with flap type reconstructions, this procedure provides a great alternative. If you think this may be for you, why not get the process started? Please call us with your questions or to schedule a consultation at 972.566.3939.
What Types of Breast Reconstruction Implants Are Available?
For breast reconstruction with tissue expanders, Dallas patients have two implant types to choose from: saline and silicone. Both types are made of a solid silicone shell with the difference being one is filled with saline solution and the other with cohesive silicone gel.
We will provide you with information on implant safety and differences as well as our recommendation of which options will best meet your needs.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Implant Breast Reconstruction
Dallas patients desiring a reconstruction should consider the following factors as compared with other methods:
- The recovery from the initial expander placement surgery is usually quicker than flap surgery.
- It may be easier to control the final size of the reconstructed breast with implant reconstruction.
- There are no additional scars on the patient’s body other than those on the breasts.
- Because most patients require placement of an expander followed by replacement with an implant, at least 2 surgical stages are needed, plus multiple visits to the surgeon’s office between them for tissue expansion.
- For patients having a unilateral (one-sided) mastectomy, matching the contralateral natural breast with an implant can be difficult. The shape and feel of an implant is not exactly like that of a natural breast.
- In the short term, implants can become infected or malpositioned, requiring corrective surgery.
- In the longer term, implants can develop capsular contracture (tightening of the soft tissues around the implant), implant malposition, and implant rupture. All of these can require secondary procedures.
Take the first step on your path to being whole again. Call the Texas Center, your experts in breast reconstruction with tissue expanders in Dallas, today at 972.566.3939 to schedule your consultation.