After you have a mastectomy, you may choose to have your breast restored with implants, a procedure called implant-based breast reconstruction. In addition to years of experience performing breast reconstruction, Anthony Echo, MD, with offices in Houston Methodist Hospital and the Willowbrook neighborhood of Houston, Texas, uses today’s most innovative implants to give women natural-looking breasts with the safety of saline. To learn more about implant-based breast reconstruction, call or schedule an appointment online today.
Breast reconstruction refers to surgery to rebuild or restore your breasts after you have a mastectomy. In some cases, a lumpectomy may be extensive enough to require breast reconstruction.
When you have an implant-based breast reconstruction, your new breasts are created using silicone or saline implants. Many women have implant-based breast reconstruction at the same time as their mastectomy; others may need to wait until treatments such as radiation therapy are finished.
There are two basic types of breast implants: saline and silicone. Both have an outer silicone cover, but one is filled with silicone and the other with saline, which is a mixture of salt and water.
Both types of implants are very good. Silicone is very safe and gives a more natural feel to the breast. Traditional saline implants are also safe but tend to have more rippling and a less natural feel. Most patients prefer to have silicone implants since they feel more natural.
However, there is a new saline implant, the innovative Ideal® implants, which are a significantly improved version of saline implants. The Ideal implants have an internal structure of multi-layered shells and multiple chambers for the saline solution.
The Ideal’s structure gives them the same natural feel and appearance as silicone implants,T so you gain all the advantages of silicone implants but you still have the safety of saline.
Implant-based breast reconstruction may be done at the time of your mastectomy or performed as a multi-step process. In the multi-step process, your provider places an implant-like device called a tissue expander under the chest muscle at the time of your mastectomy.
After giving the skin a few weeks to heal, your provider injects saline into the expander. Every week, more saline is added, gradually stretching the tissues. When the pocket is large enough to hold the size of your implant, the expander is removed and replaced with your new implant.
Dr. Echo prefers to insert the implant at the time of your mastectomy without first expanding the tissue. This approach is possible when you receive a nipple-sparing mastectomy and have adequately thick flaps.
The overall health and thickness of your skin is one of the most important factors that determine if you can have implant-based breast reconstruction at the same time as your mastectomy.
Having the implant inserted after your mastectomy causes less postoperative pain, allows you to wake up from surgery with a fully reconstructed breast, and cuts down on the number of procedures necessary for reconstruction.
To learn more about implant-based breast reconstruction, call Anthony Echo, MD, or schedule an appointment online.