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What to Expect: Delayed Reconstruction

Delayed breast reconstruction surgery may begin weeks, months or even years after you have completely healed from your mastectomy. You and your care team will determine what’s best for your situation.

If you choose delayed reconstruction, the two-stage process is the only procedural option. The skin over your chest changes shape over time and needs an expander to create new skin to accommodate a breast implant.

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Two-Stage Breast Reconstruction with an Implant

This combination of procedures gradually expands the skin on your chest into the shape of a breast and creates a pocket for the breast implant. The most common approach includes a tissue expander followed by placement of a breast implant – allowing for the most flexibility in shaping the breast.

First Stage

Your surgeon will surgically insert a tissue expander, and over the subsequent weeks in the office, slowly expand the space creating the breast shape. Typically, you’ll meet with your plastic surgeon every other week to fill the expander with sterile saline in order to gradually stretch the skin.

Second Stage

Once the space reaches the right size and the tissue has healed (several months later), your surgeon will perform a second surgery to remove the tissue expander and replace it with the breast implant. If a mastectomy was only performed on one breast, you might choose to have the other breast lifted or augmented with an implant depending on what is needed to achieve optimal symmetry.

References

* In-person consumer survey with 452 respondents.

1. MENTOR Consumer Preference Market Research Report - July 2017

References

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