Breast Implants After a Mastectomy
Breast implants after a mastectomy is one tool Dr. O’Neill may use to help his patients regain the natural shape of breasts. A mastectomy may be performed to treat or prevent cancer, or for other medical reasons, and often, many women desire reconstruction following the surgery.
Discovering the Options
Women who choose to have breast reconstruction after their surgery have several options. The most popular option is to use implants to help create a natural shape. Autologous tissue (tissue that is taken from elsewhere in the body) may also be used, either with or without implants. The choice will depend upon the extent of the mastectomy, the desired size and shape of the new breast, and other factors that Dr. O’Neill will discuss with you during your consultation.
Immediate Reconstruction vs Delayed Reconstruction
Some women choose to have their reconstruction surgery at the same time as the mastectomy takes place. Others choose to wait and allow the initial surgical scars to heal before pursuing reconstruction. Both are valid options. If a woman does not choose immediate reconstruction, she has the option of waiting months, and even years, for a reconstruction. If you are uncertain whether you’ll want a reconstruction, or don’t want one initially but change your mind later, or if you need radiation therapy following the mastectomy, a delayed reconstruction provides options.
How is Breast Reconstruction Performed?
Breast implant reconstruction is a two-stage procedure. In the first stage, the surgeon will insert a device called a tissue expander. The expander is slowly filled with saline during follow-up visits over the course of two to six months. Once the chest muscles and tissue have relaxed and healed sufficiently, the expander is removed and replaced with the permanent implant. In immediate reconstructions, the tissue expanding stage is skipped and the implant is inserted immediately.
Nipple and Areola Reconstruction
In both types of surgery, the nipple and areola are either spared during the initial mastectomy, or reconstructed after the surgery. Once the breast mound and implants have had a chance to settle into place, Dr. O’Neill can begin the reconstruction of the areola and nipple. There are several options for this stage of the surgery. The nipple can be rebuilt from breast tissue, or skin may be taken from the groin or abdomen to reconstruct the areola. Another option, for women who do not wish to undergo reconstructive surgery for the areola and nipple, is 3D tattooing from a tattoo artist that specializes in reconstructive tattooing.
Breast Implants at O’Neill Plastic Surgery
Have you been considering breast implants after a mastectomy? Contact out office today to schedule your consultation to discuss the various options available to you for reconstructing the breasts. Call us843-881-2130 at or use our online contact form!