Types of Breast Reconstruction

There are two main types of breast reconstruction performed at Virginia Mason:

  • Breast Implants — The breast mound is created with a saline or silicone-filled implant, after first performing tissue expansion for a several week period. The tissue expander is placed under the skin and chest muscle where it is gradually filled with saline through a tiny valve. The skin is comfortably stretched over time until it is large enough to accommodate the selected implant. In some cases, the opposite breast may be enlarged, lifted or reduced to better match the new breast. Learn more about breast implant reconstruction surgery.
  • Autologous Tissue — Autologous means the use of a patient's own tissue for reconstruction of the breast. A patient's skin, fat, tissue and sometimes muscle are used to reshape the breast. Most commonly tissue from the abdomen is used, though it can also be taken from the back, thigh or buttock. Flap procedures are longer than implant surgery, but may require fewer steps with longer lasting results. Learn more about autologous tissue reconstruction surgery.

Both types of breast reconstruction have benefits and costs. Our surgeons can help you decide which is right for you. For more information about the types of breast reconstruction, call our office at (206) 223-6778.

Below is helpful information you should consider before choosing a type of breast reconstruction surgery.

Breast Implant Reconstructive Surgery

Why choose breast implant reconstructive surgery?

  • Breast implant surgery is shorter and has a quicker recovery time.
  • Implants work best for women who have smaller breasts or when both breasts are being restored.

What should I be aware of with breast implant reconstructive surgery?

  • Many need additional procedures to remove scar tissue in the breast or replace an implant.
  • It may be difficult to achieve symmetry with an implant when restoring one breast.
  • MRI monitoring of the implant is needed to check for rupture.

Autologous Tissue Reconstructive Surgery

Why choose autologous tissue reconstructive surgery?

  • Autologous tissue reconstruction lasts your entire lifetime.
  • It will have a more natural feel than an implant.
  • It improves abnormal shape and contour.

What should I be aware of with autologous tissue reconstructive surgery?

  • Tissue surgery is longer with increased recovery time.