Tissue Expander Implant ReconstructionView Gallery
Tissue Expander Implant Reconstruction in Charlotte
For some women, plastic surgery involves more than cosmetic surgery, it may also involve reconstructive surgery. At Criswell & Criswell Plastic Surgery, our surgeons recognize the importance of offering reconstructive options to our patients.
There are many reasons that women may desire and need reconstruction. Whether the cause of the deficit is congenital, such as Poland’s Syndrome, or the result of a mastectomy after breast cancer, breast reconstruction surgery is a wonderful option for women to help restore the look and feel of a natural breast.
There is no one right reconstructive plan for women desiring breast reconstruction. Both Dr.’s Kara and Bryan Criswell understand how personal this decision-making is and wish to offer you the opportunity to discuss all possible options.
We hope the information below will help provide some basic information that you may wish to consider as you make this very personal decision. We encourage you to call to make an appointment with either Dr. Kara Criswell or Dr. Bryan Criswell to further discuss which option is best for you.
Breast Reconstruction Options:
Breast reconstruction is generally performed in multiple stages. It can be performed as immediate reconstruction (at the same time as your mastectomy), or as delayed reconstruction, months or even years after. Regardless, it is rarely completed in only one operation and can often involve multiple procedures over many months. We want our patients undergoing breast reconstruction to be aware of the different stages and understand that our surgeons are committed to provide the best outcome throughout every stage.
Breast reconstruction with Implants
For many patients, breast reconstruction with implants is a great option.
The first stage involves placing a tissue expander beneath your chest muscles. This expander is a balloon-like device made from gel. Over time, saline fluid is added in order to inflate the expander and stretch the skin. This expansion takes place over a few weeks to months, with regular office visits. Eventually, the skin and muscle are stretched sufficiently so that there is room for the placement of a more permanent implant.
Stage two involves placing this implant. The balloon expander is removed, and your surgeon will then insert a breast implant. The implant can be saline filled or silicone gel (‘gummy bear’ style). The choice of implant is between you and your surgeon, but generally speaking, the gel implants give a more natural look and feel.
Stage three involves the reconstruction of your nipple and areola. Skin from the central portion of the breast is used to recreate the nipple. This is generally performed as a separate surgery a few weeks after the placement of the implant. Once your surgeon has surgically created the nipple and areola, many women go on to have the area tattooed so that the color match is natural. Dr. Criswell uses a medical tattoo device to permanently color the areola. This is done in the office over one or two sessions.
Charlotte has many wonderful resources for women with breast cancer. Carolinas Breast Friends is one of them. It is a non-profit organization committed to uniting and helping women with breast cancer in all stages of survivial. The organization centers on those who want to create a social and educational outlet for women united in a sisterhood of survival and hope.
Recovery After Tissue Expander Implant Reconstruction
After your surgery, you will need adequate time to rest and heal. As the tissue expander is often placed in the same surgery as the mastectomy, you need to plan for your recovery. After you wake up from surgery, you will still feel groggy from the anesthetic. In most cases, you will have compression sleeves on legs to assist with circulation. To aid in your comfort, you will be on pain medication. Your upper body where the incisions were placed will feel tender.
Rest and Recover
Plan on resting in bed so your body use its energy to heal. You may have surgical drains to manage, and we ensure our patients have complete, easy to understand aftercare instructions. Plan on having a friend or family member with you, particularly during the early stages of recovery. Each day you can move about more freely, and should do so, as stimulating circulation speeds the healing process. Several simple exercises will be appropriate during this period. Once the tissue expander has reached the size for the breast implant, the next surgery can take place. The placing of the implant involves a shorter, easier recovery time.