Reconstructive breast implants

A quite different type of breast implant is often used in breast reconstruction surgery. The surgeon may decide to use a tissue expander, a silicone outer shell which is inserted under the chest tissue and gradually inflated with injections of saline (sterile salt-water solution). Once the expander has stretched the skin and muscle enough to create plenty of healthy new tissue, it is replaced with a permanent implant. Women who have had a single or double mastectomy may choose to have immediate or delayed breast reconstruction. Immediate reconstruction involves breast implant surgery at the same time as the mastectomy is performed. Some women prefer this as it can help them to recover more quickly on a psychological level. However, there are often increased risks of infection and other complications such as deflation and the operation and recovery times may be considerably longer.

Delayed breast reconstruction is carried out some time after the mastectomy and is advisable if the patient is still undergoing chemotherapy or radiotherapy. Another option after mastectomy is to have reconstructive surgery without the use of breast implants. This type of breast reconstruction is called Tissue Transfer Surgery and involves using tissue, skin and muscle from another part of the body to mould a new breast