Breast Reconstruction is surgery to rebuild a breast's shape and very often to obtain symmetry with the contralateral side, which sometimes involves additional operation to enlarge, reduce, or lift the other healthy breast to match the reconstructed breast.
The breast reconstruction can be performer either at the time of your mastectomy surgery (immediate reconstruction) or during a later procedure (delayed reconstruction). Delayed reconstruction is sometimes dictated by the patient’s medical condition. It gives a woman more time to decide what kind of treatment to choose. Some women who have breast reconstruction also choose to have the nipple and areola reconstructed.
A variety of reconstructive techniques are available for reformation of a natural-looking areola and nipple. The type of reconstruction you get depends on your health condition, body type, the size of the second breast and your individual goals.
Breast reconstruction can be achieved by using a tissue expander and breast implants or by using autologous tissue.
The surgery with the use of expander can be done in a single time, or in two stages.
The two stages surgery. During the first operation the surgeon inserts a tissue expander, (a temporary silastic implant) beneath the pectoralis major muscle of the chest wall. Through a tiny valve mechanism periodically will be injected a salt-water solution to gradually fill the expander over several months. After the tissue expansion process is complete, your surgeon performs a second surgery to remove the tissue expander and replace it with a permanent implant.
The single time surgery. Some expanders are designed to be left in place as the final implant. As in the case of two-stage surgery the expander is placed and inflated to the required size. And then only the valve mechanism is removed.