Breast Reconstruction Using Tissue Expanders

Published on August 6, 2018

Having a single or double mastectomy can be a very emotional experience for a woman. With breast-reconstruction surgery, you can have your breasts back and start feeling more comfortable with your body again.

Breast reconstruction using tissue expanders is one of the ways in which a new pair of breasts can be surgically constructed. The process takes some time to complete but has been found to be safe with excellent results.

How Does the Procedure Work?

Before the surgery, you will be given general anesthesia so that you can be comfortable and asleep during the procedure. Next, a small incision will be made around the area of the breast and an empty prosthetic called a tissue expander will be inserted under the skin and chest muscles. The skin will be sutured closed and drains will be fitted to allow the removal of fluid that collects at the site of the incision. The incision will be dressed with gauze.

Over a course of the next four weeks or so, the tissue expanders will gradually be filled with saline until they expand enough to reach the desired size. The gradual increase in the size of the expander helps to stretch out the skin and muscles, preparing them for the insertion of permanent implants.

Once this stage is complete, you will undergo a second surgery to remove the saline-filled tissue expanders and replace them with the breast implants. Reconstruction of the nipples and areolae will be done a few weeks later.

After the surgeries, you might feel a bit of stinging at the sites of the incisions; this sensation is normal and will pass in a few days. While the expansion process is going on, you will experience some tightness and heaviness in your chest. This is because the skin and muscles are being stretched out to form the new breasts.

Post-Surgical Care Directions

You will be advised to rest at home after the surgeries. The nurses will teach you how to care for the drains at the incision sites, which will be in place for the next week or two before they are removed.

Following the placement of the breast implants, you will need to wear a compression bra for a time. Wear the bra as instructed by your plastic surgeon to help with the healing process and to help the new breasts hold their shape.

If you have to undergo chemotherapy or radiation, your doctor will keep you informed regarding the timeline for the second surgery, which might be delayed slightly.

Schedule a Consultation

Removal of the breasts because of breast cancer no longer needs to leave you feeling incomplete. With breast reconstruction using tissue expansion, you can have a new pair of breasts that look and feel natural. With everything you have already been through, you deserve the chance to feel your best.

Doctors Roger Friedman, Douglas Forman, and Kathy Huang are board-certified plastic surgeons with years of experience. During a consultation, you will be given all the details of the procedure and can ask any questions you may have. Contact us today to schedule your consultation.

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