Tissue Expander Reconstruction
Non-Autologous Breast Reconstruction
Breast reconstruction with tissue expanders is one method used to rebuild a woman’s breast following a mastectomy.
The goal of breast reconstruction is to match the affected breast as closely as possible in shape and size to the natural breast. In the case of bilateral reconstruction (both breasts), this procedure allows for greater flexibility in size, selection and symmetry. Dr. Van Laeken will help you determine if this is an appropriate procedure for you. She will review the surgical techniques and share with you, before and after photos at the time of your consultation.
This procedure can be done either at the time of the mastectomy (immediate reconstruction) or later (delayed reconstruction).
Breast reconstruction makes many women feel better about their appearance, however, it is important, to be realistic about the expected outcomes. A reconstructed breast won’t look exactly like your original breast nor will the sensation be similar.
This procedure can take up to one year to fully complete and requires three operative procedures.
Candidates for Breast Reconstruction with Tissue Expanders
- Patients who have had a mastectomy (Note: Not an option for patients who have had a radical mastectomy. This was an operation done many years ago whereby the chest muscle (pectoralis) was removed. It is rarely performed today).
- Healthy women not requiring radiation. For those who do need radiation, the recommendation to proceed with this type of reconstruction will be decided on an individual basis).
- Thin women with very little body fat are not candidates for a tram procedure and therefore, may opt for breast reconstruction with tissue expanders and later breast implants.
Breast Massage Techniques
These techniques are to be performed for 5 minutes total daily for the lifetime of the implant. Dr. Van Laeken recommends this be done in the shower for greatest of ease.
1. V-Shape Massage:
Step 1 – Make your hand into a “V” shape with your thumb on one side of the breast and your four fingers on the other side. Put the V at the base of your implant.
Step 2 – Move your thumb and fingers together so that the implant moves upwards. The implant should be forced out of its normal position into the open space above the implant.
Step 3- Let the implant fall back into its normal position, then repeat Step 2 to move the implant back up into the open space. You should continue this massage for one to two minutes.
2. Lateral Motions:
Step 1 – Take the breast in your hand and move it back and forth between your thumb and the rest of your hand. Use a reasonable amount of force as you move the breast and the implant from its stationary position towards the underarm and then back towards the middle of your chest.
3. Random Motions of the Clock:
Step 1 – Grasp the breast with your hand, squeeze the implant and manipulate the breast with random directions. Move the breast/implant around in all directions to effectively touch all positions of numbers on the clock. No particular order is necessary.
4. Quadrant Massage
Step 1 – Place your palm on the side of the breast and push towards the center of your chest for a count of 5. Repeat the same procedure with the other hand from the midline towards the underarm.
Step 2 – Perform the same procedure from the bottom of the breast upward and then finally from the top of the breast downward. Use a reasonable amount of force. You will not rupture your implant.
View before and after photos