Breast Reconstruction: Direct-to-Implant Breast Reconstruction

Breast reconstruction with implantable devices allows women who have lost their breasts due to cancer, to regain the look of their breasts.

Your plastic surgeon is able to work with your oncologist to decide if you are suitable for direct-to-implant breast reconstruction. This is why you should consult your plastic surgeon as soon as possible.

Prior to the availability of direct-to-implant breast reconstruction, other breast reconstruction procedures were mainly divided into several phases following mastectomy.

Initially, tissue expanders were used to extend the breast tissue and create space for the implants. Once the skin had been stretched sufficiently, an additional procedure was done to insert the implants. 

Even though this is still an effective treatment alternative, the majority of women prefer direct-to-implant breast reconstruction. They would rather not have additional procedures and enjoy their newly crafted breasts.

How Does Direct-to-Implant Breast Reconstruction Surgery Work?

During direct-to-Implant breast reconstruction procedure, a permanent implant is placed at the time of the mastectomy.

The breast implant is positioned during a mastectomy procedure, once the tissue of the breast is extracted.

The breast tissues are re-sculpted in order for the implant to be supported.

This is accomplished through the use of a material known as acellular dermal matrix.

It aids in the retention of the implants and the preservation of their form.

Direct-to-implant breast reconstruction reduces the amount of procedures required for breast reconstruction and allows numerous women to feel more at ease with their bodies after a mastectomy.

Is Direct-to-Implant Reconstruction the Best Option?

Even though direct-to-implant reconstruction has kept numerous patients from having too many reconstruction procedures, not everyone is a good candidate

Candidates for this type of breast reconstruction include women who meet the following criteria:

  • They have enough breast tissue.
  • Their breast tissue is healthy.
  • They have not undergone any radiation.
  • They are not expecting a breast size larger than their natural breasts.

What Can I Expect During My Initial Consultation?

During a breast reconstruction consultation, your plastic surgeon will ask you questions regarding your medical history and current medications. He or she will also examine your breasts to determine which breast reconstruction procedure is right for you. Your plastic surgeon will also thoroughly explain the procedure and address any questions or concerns you may have.

Are There Any Risks Involved?

Direct-to-implant breast reconstruction may result in complications such as:

  • Pain or discomfort in the breast
  • Complications related to anesthesia
  • Some bleeding
  • Infection
  • Formation of scar tissue
  • Rupture of the breast implant
  • Inadequate healing of the surgical site
  • Asymmetrical breasts
  • Possibility that the breast implant may need replacing in the future

What Should I Anticipate During the Recovery Process?

For a number of weeks following surgery, you may feel sore and physically exhausted. Your surgeon will order a prescription for pain medication to alleviate any pain or discomfort. Returning to everyday routines could take six weeks or more. During this time, you should get plenty of rest. 

Your surgeon will advise you on any activity restrictions. Don’t be alarmed if it takes longer than expected during recovery. It is possible that you could completely recover after a year. After the breast reconstruction, you should see your plastic surgeon at least once a year to keep track of your reconstructed breast.  If you are concerned about your new breasts, you should schedule a consultation with your surgeon immediately.

Conclusion

Direct-to-implant breast reconstruction is a procedure whereby an implant is installed during a mastectomy without the use of a tissue expander. This procedure is particularly great for those who are desiring small breasts, have a significant amount of healthy breast tissue, and have not been exposed to radiation. If you desire this procedure and have talked with your oncologist, consult your plastic surgeon right away.