Before a mastectomy, ensure that the breast reconstruction surgeon you choose has experience with the types of reconstruction you are considering and will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of your options.
If radiation therapy is part of your breast cancer treatment plan, you’ll likely need a plastic surgeon specializing in flap reconstruction because radiation can lead to complications with implants. Additionally, suppose you’re having immediate breast reconstruction at the same time as the mastectomy surgery. In that case, you must choose a plastic surgeon who does surgery at the same hospital as your breast surgeon so they can work together as a team.
Breast reconstruction with implants begins by placing a breast implant in front of the muscle. These are held in place using a particular tissue called an acellular dermal matrix, which your body replaces with collagen over time, either at the time of your mastectomy or during a later procedure.
While some women can have the permanent breast implant placed at the time of the mastectomy, many others require a two-stage process that uses a tissue expander before the permanent implant is placed.
After the tissue is adequately expanded, your surgeon performs a second surgery to remove the tissue expander and replace it with a permanent implant in the exact location of the tissue expander.