Recovering from breast cancer is never easy. However, it can be even more challenging for patients who need a lumpectomy or mastectomy as part of their treatment. Here we have our guide to breast reconstruction with implants.
Guide to Breast Reconstruction with Implants
The good news is that breast reconstruction in Houston with implants is far better today than it was a generation ago.Thanks to medical advancements and technical innovation, people who opt for reconstruction today have more options than those who came before them.
In order to help you better understand what is available to you, we have put together a comprehensive guide covering the procedures and implant types that you may consider if you wish to have your breasts reconstructed.
Reconstructive Options with Implants
Reconstructive surgery with the use of implants is the most common approach. If you had a more radical procedure to remove cancerous tissue, then you may require expanders to slowly stretch the skin in order to make room for the implants.
While there are quite a few different shapes and textures available to create the ideal breast shape and feel for you, they are broken down into two major categories.
Saline Breast Implants
Saline breast implants are often used to help reconstruct breasts. They tend to feel firmer than a real breast, but they are much safer for the body in case of rupture. Structured saline implants are now available to create a more realistic feel than their earlier counterparts.
Silicone Breast Implants
Silicone breast implants are made with a gel that feels a lot more like real breast tissue. While leaks are relatively rare, they are a risk that you should consider when choosing silicone. Some silicone implants, like gummy bear implants, are made to sustain their shape even if you were to cut them in half. These implants could pose less of a risk.
Just as your doctor discussed your breast tumor treatment options in Houston, they will present you with all of your reconstructive options. You can take your time feeling, testing, and looking at example images to choose the right breast implant for you.
Options for Reconstructing Nipples
Nipple reconstruction is optional and usually follows the initial reconstruction procedure. If you need or want nipple reconstruction, there are several options available to you.
A full nipple reconstruction uses skin on the breast or from a donor spot to rebuild a three dimensional nipple. This is merely a cosmetic choice to imitate the appearance of your natural breasts.
Tattooing is a far less invasive way to create the two-dimensional appearance of nipples. Talented artists can make them look very realistic, but the shape will ultimately be flat.
There are advantages to this approach if you would rather go braless. You also aren’t limited to creating natural-looking nipples.
Some patients choose to be more creative, using flowers or other circular shapes to represent their nipples in a more abstract way.
If you’re done with surgery and needles, you’re not alone. There are prosthetic nipples that can be attached and removed at will.
Some patients entirely forgo nipple reconstruction just as others choose not to reconstruct their breasts. Every step you take or don’t take with the reconstructive process is up to you.
Reconstructive Options without Implants
Implants often can reconstruct the breasts of breast cancer patients. But they certainly aren’t the only option. Patients who don’t want to use implants have several alternatives.
Flap procedures can be used to take tissue from other parts of the body to help rebuild structure and volume in the chest area. For radical mastectomies a flap procedure is often paired with an implant procedure, but this isn’t always the case.
Fat transfer reconstruction is often a great option for patients who have had a lumpectomy on one or both sides. Still, these procedures allow your doctor to take small amounts of fat from other parts of your body and re-inject them into the breast area for somewhat increased volume.