We are proud to provide the option of both silicone and saline breast implants to our breast reconstruction patients at our Oklahoma City office. The implants may be inserted at the time of a mastectomy or later. Request an appointment today to discuss your breast reconstruction options and choose the best fit for you!
About Breast Reconstruction with Implants
We offer several different breast reconstruction options for patients who have undergone a mastectomy or lumpectomy, including DIEP Flap Breast Reconstruction and Implant Breast Reconstruction. Implant breast reconstruction uses implants to recreate enhanced breast volume. Implant based breast reconstruction can be performed either in one stage or two stages. Some women who have relatively small breasts and good quality skin may be candidates for direct-to-implant breast reconstruction. Under these circumstances, an implant can be placed in the breast at the same time as a mastectomy procedure. However, not all women are candidates for this one stage procedure. More commonly, women will require a multi-staged breast reconstruction in which a tissue expander is placed at the initial surgery and the implant is placed at a later date.
When choosing breast implants there are different factors to take into consideration. Below are a few of the choices that patients can choose from with the assistance of skilled breast reconstruction surgeon.
The two main types of implants are either comprised of silicone or saline. Saline implants have a solid silicone outer shell and a hollowed out inside that is filled with salt-water solution. Silicone implants are made of a semi-solid gel. Some women believe that silicone implants feel more natural, while others prefer saline. Dr. Bajaj will discuss the pros and cons of each type of implant at the time of your consultation.
Implant sizes range from 120cc to 800cc. Implants are measured in cubic centimeters because bra cup sizes are not a reliable form of standardized measurement. The size of your implant will depend on many issues including your desired size, the condition of your remaining skin after the mastectomy, and your individual chest wall anatomy.
Breast implants following mastectomy are placed in a pocket created either under the muscle or on top of the muscle. Under the muscle placement, or sub-muscular, may be preferred for women with thin skin or little subcutaneous tissue. This is because placement above the muscle may result in visibility of the implant or rippling, so the muscle acts as coverage. After the consultation examination Dr. Bajaj will be able to provide her expert opinion on the ideal placement for your individual situation.
Implants vs Flap Breast Reconstruction
Implants are an appealing option to some women because they do not require an incision elsewhere on the body. Frequently, surgeons will use the same incisions made during the mastectomy to perform the breast reconstruction. Breast reconstruction using a flap does require a donor site from which to harvest the donor tissue. Some women prefer flap breast reconstruction over implants, because flaps provide a more natural fell and use your own tissue. Flap reconstruction is also considered more permanent than implants, as implants may need to be replaced as they age. Women who are heavier or who have had previous radiation therapy may also be better candidates for a flap, such as a DIEP flap, for breast reconstruction. Neither procedure is considered “better” than the other, which is why we offer both at our practice. In some cases, we may utilize a combination of both procedures to attain the desired results. Dr. Bajaj looks forward to meeting with future patients to help them choose the best technique for their body and lifestyle.
Women may choose to either undergo immediate or delayed reconstruction. Immediate reconstruction is performed at the same time as a mastectomy. Delayed reconstruction is performed sometime after the initial mastectomy and may be performed a few months or years after the operation. Not all patients will be good candidates for immediate reconstruction – factors that could influence whether you are a candidate or not may include the type of cancer and cancer stage as well as your overall medical condition.
In the first stage of a staged reconstruction procedure, Dr. Bajaj will place a device called a tissue expander under the breast skin or muscle. The expander is slowly pumped full of saline over the course of two to six months, depending on the size of the implants and the chest’s ability to expand. This will augment the chest area to make room for the implant. In the second stage of the reconstruction surgery, the tissue expander will be removed and replaced with an implant. To combat asymmetry, an implant may be added to the other breast as well to achieve long-lasting aesthetic harmony. If the patient’s areola and nipple were not retained during the mastectomy, then a final procedure may be necessary to reconstruct the nipple areola complex. This will aid in giving the breast a more natural appearance and may help diminish the appearance of scarring. However, recreation of the nipple-areola complex is not possible for all women who have undergone mastectomies. To recreate the nipple, tissue may be gathered from around the surrounding area. Another option is to obtain a tattoo of the nipple areola complex. This last step is usually not performed until the implant has settled and healed, which takes about three to four months.
To determine the best reconstruction technique for your body, request a consultation at our Oklahoma location today! Good candidates for breast reconstruction surgery with implants are women who have undergone a mastectomy or lumpectomy and wish to restore volume or symmetry to their breasts. Since the implant may not perfectly match the symmetry of the other breast, especially as breasts may begin to sag or lose volume with age, implants may be better suited for women with small to medium breast sizes. Breast implants may be a good option for women with naturally smaller chests and thin bodies, since there may not be enough ideal tissue to harvest from donor sites for flap reconstruction. Breast implants are not a good option for women who will be undergoing future radiation therapy or have previously had radiation therapy to their breasts.
We will go over the procedure thoroughly with candidates to make sure that they have realistic expectations for the outcome of surgery and understand what can and cannot be accomplished. Prior to undergoing breast reconstruction surgery, women should be non-smokers and at a healthy weight.
Dr. Anureet Bajaj is a board certified plastic surgeon specially trained in breast reconstruction surgeries and has an extensive background in breast implants. During the initial consultation, patients will have the opportunity to discuss what they hope to achieve from a breast reconstruction surgery. She will discuss the differences between the breast reconstruction options we offer. She will also review your medical history and may conduct a physical examination to choose the best reconstructive option for you. Once she has approved your candidacy for breast reconstruction surgery with implants, she will develop a comprehensive plan for the surgery, including preparation and recovery directions. At this time, she will also discuss pricing and aid you in determining the assistance you may receive from health insurance. We welcome all questions you may have and hope to make the process as seamless as possible. Contact our Oklahoma office today to get started.