There are many options available for breast reconstruction. During your consultation, the right procedure for you will be determined. Breast reconstruction is performed as an outpatient surgery. A one- or two-night hospital stay is normally necessary. The exact length of surgery time will depend on the technique used in the surgery. Some reconstruction methods include:
Following a mastectomy, the surgeon will insert a balloon expander beneath the skin and chest muscle. Through a very small valve buried underneath the skin, a small amount of saltwater will be periodically injected into the breast. Over 1 to 6 weeks, this process will gradually expand the skin and tissue of the breast. Once the tissue has stretched to the desired amount, the expander will be removed. At that point, another surgical procedure will be used to place a breast implant. The areola and nipple can also be re-created and surgically positioned on the breast(s).
This method of breast reconstruction utilizes a skin flap formed with skin from another area of the body, such as the back or abdomen. The flap is extracted and placed in position on the chest. Then meticulously, the vessels are attached to those in the existing tissues. Another option allows the flap to remain attached at its original site, retaining its own blood supply. It will be slowly tunneled to the breast area, beneath the skin. Once in place, a pocket is created for an implant, or a breast mound is created from the relocated tissue.