Implant Surgery

Implant Surgery for Breast Reconstruction

Breast implant surgery beginning with insertion of a tissue expander remains the most common breast reconstruction technique. Your breast skin quality and history of radiation treatments will help determine if this is a good option for you.

Over a several week period, the expander is gradually filled to create the final breast size and shape. The expander is then removed and the silicone gel implant is placed.

In one to three months after the placing the implant, the nipple may be reconstructed by rearranging small skin flaps or tattooing may be performed.

For more information about implant surgery for breast reconstruction, call (206) 223-6778.

What to Expect After Breast Implant Surgery

If a tissue expander is placed at the time of your mastectomy, you may stay in the hospital for one to two days. For implants placed later, same-day surgery is possible. Soreness and swelling are normal after surgery and pain medication can help in the first week. Many women recover well in about two weeks following expander placement and permanent implant placement when done following a healed mastectomy.

Risks of Breast Implant Surgery

Breast implant surgery carries the same risks as other surgeries, including bleeding, poor healing or infection. Specific risks associated with breast implants also include:

  • Scar tissue — Known as capsular contracture, scar tissue can form around the implant causing painful hardening of the tissue and changes in breast shape. Additional surgery may be needed to remove the scar tissue or replace the implant.
     
  • Changes in the implant — Over time, implants can harden, become ruptured and leak, or develop ripples and other unwanted changes. Surgery to replace the implant may be needed.
     
  • Scarring — Scars on the breast will normally fade over time, but rarely abnormal scarring can result.
     
  • More follow-up — Silicone gel-filled implants are FDA approved, but require follow-up imaging to diagnose leaks. Your surgeon will discuss with you all implant options and their associated merits and risks.