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Breast reconstruction is available for patients who have been diagnosed with breast cancer and have or will be undergoing a mastectomy or lumpectomy. The decision to undergo breast reconstruction is one that no woman ever wants to make in her lifetime, but is, unfortunately, one that is becoming more and more common with the increasing rates of patients being diagnosed with breast cancer. Dr. Crosby meets with many women after their diagnosis to determine the best course of action for reconstruction.

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Breast reconstruction is performed at one of two times, in one of two ways. Patients who will undergo a mastectomy can choose to rebuild their breast at the same time as their mastectomy (immediate reconstruction) or a later date (delayed reconstruction). Although most patients are candidates for immediate reconstruction, the timing of the reconstruction may need to be delayed based on multiple factors that involve treatment for the cancer as well as lifestyle considerations. Breast reconstruction can be performed by using your own tissue (known as the flap method) or with implants. The following will discuss reconstruction utilizing the implant method.

The Procedure

Reconstruction using implants is often a multi-step process. Initially, a tissue expander is inserted into a pocket made behind the chest muscle wall. This expander is an empty silicone balloon that is designed to stretch the breast tissue so that it can cover and hold an implant. Over the following weeks, a sterile saline solution is used to fill the silicone balloon a little at a time. This must be done in stages so that the breast tissue stretches gradually and safely. Once the tissue expander has reached the desired size, it is replaced with an implant. Both saline and silicone implants are available for breast reconstruction patients. Dr. Crosby can provide more information about these two materials and implant choices during your consultation. For some patients, Dr. Crosby may also determine that you are a candidate for a one-stage procedure where an implant is placed immediately without the need for the tissue expander.

What Are the Benefits?

The entire process will take two to three months to complete, and during that time you will be required to go in for multiple appointments to fill the tissue expander. The implant method comes with several advantages, including:

  • Less recovery time than using your own tissue
  • A less invasive approach
  • No tissue required from another part of your body
  • Availability of many shapes and sizes of implants
  • Can lead to a perkier-looking reconstruction
  • Shorter surgery time
  • Fewer scars


If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer and are considering reconstruction, contact Dr. Melissa Crosby today by calling (832) 939-8500.