This typically requires a two-stage reconstruction. First, an implanted tissue expander (like a deflated balloon) is put under the skin and chest muscle. Through a tiny valve under the skin, the surgeon injects saline solution at regular intervals to fill the expander over time (up to several months). After the skin over the breast area has stretched enough, a second surgery is done to remove the expander and put in an implant. The most common implants are saline-filled implants (silicone shell filled with salt water) and silicone gel-filled implants. Most recent studies show that silicone implants do not increase the risk of developing immune system problems.
Deep Inferior Epigastric Perforator (DIEP)
The skin, fat and blood vessels are moved from the patient’s belly to her chest. The tissue’s removal gives the patient results similar to a tummy tuck. The scar left behind is usually below the bikini line.The physician then uses a surgical microscope to attach the blood vessels from the new tissue to the vessels in the chest area to give the new breast a blood supply.
Implants may not last a lifetime and may need to be replaced later. There can be problems with implants including rupture, infection or pain. Scar tissue may form around the implant (capsular contracture).
With live tissue instead of implants, flap procedures create a breast that looks and feels more natural. It adapts normally as the patient ages and gains or loses weight. And the side benefits of flap procedures are similar to having a tummy tuck or thigh lift, with inconspicuous scars. Flap procedures use tissue from different parts of the body:
- Deep inferior epigastric perforator (DIEP): lower abdomen
- Profunda artery perforator (PAP): inner and posterior thigh
- Transverse upper gracilis (TUG): inner thigh near the groin
- Procedures takes 1-2 hours
- General anesthesia is used for this procedures
- Possible side effects include temporary soreness, swelling, change or loss of nipple sensation, and bruising
- Breast sensitive to stimulation for a few weeks
- Physical contact with breasts in 3-4 weeks
- No aerobic activity for 1 month
Fading of scars will take several months to a year
Before and after slideshow
Click on the image below to view our gallery of before and after transformations. There are some graphic images that may not be suitable for children to view.