How Are Tissue Expanders Used in Breast Reconstruction?
Breast reconstruction or mammoplasty is a type of plastic surgery that helps in reconstructing and restructuring the breasts after the patient has undergone a mastectomy or lumpectomy. A mastectomy is when the patient has had one or both breasts removed due to breast cancer and a lumpectomy is when malignant lumps are removed from the patient’s breasts.
Breast reconstruction also involves breast enhancement or breast augmentation surgery and breast reduction surgery if the patient desires smaller or larger breasts accordingly. It can even be performed after the patient has undergone a breast enhancement but has not achieved the desired results or if there were complications during the breast enhancement procedure.
Methods of Performing Breast Reconstruction Surgery
A breast reconstruction surgery has to be performed very carefully as the surgeon is aiming to reshape or build new breasts for the patient. Depending on your needs and preferences, silicone or saline implants may be used to improve the size and shape of the breasts. Your surgeon may also suggest a fat transfer or autologous reconstruction if you make a good candidate for that technique.
Both techniques are proven breast reconstruction methods that deliver great results. However, the analogous fat transfer technique is preferred as it involves the transfer of fat from the patient’s own body. The harvested fat will be purified and injected into the breasts. This method poses minimal difficulties as there is no chance of developing an allergic reaction.
Tissue Expanders for Breast Reconstruction
Another method of performing breast reconstruction is the use of tissue expanders in the breasts. Using this method, the surgeon uses a temporary tissue expander in one or both breasts to stretch and expand the breast skin, tissue, and muscle to make it appear larger in size and shape. It can also be inserted in specific areas of the breast to help enhance their shape and symmetry.
After a few months of inserting the tissue expander, it is removed and the patient undergoes a microvascular flap reconstruction or the surgeon inserts breast implants into the patient to complete the treatment.
This method of breast reconstruction requires the patient to undergo two separate operations – one for the insertion of the tissue expanders in the breasts and another one either for the insertion of permanent breast implants or a microvascular flap reconstruction surgery.
A breast tissue expander is something like a temporary breast implant that is inserted beneath the breasts to expand the breast tissue and muscle before the permanent implant can be inserted. It prepares the breast for the final implant insertion and helps make room for the insertion of the permanent silicone or saline implants.
It is inserted between the breast tissue and the chest muscle. Over a few months, the expander gently and carefully expands the breast muscle outward and stretches out the muscles. There is a tiny valve inside the tissue expander that is filled with a salt-water solution gradually over several weeks or sometimes even months to help expand the tissue.
Contact Our Office
If you want to learn more about tissue expanders and how they can help with a breast reconstruction, contact us today. At the Advanced Plastic Surgery Center, we are dedicated to helping every patient and we will help you achieve your aesthetic goals.