Most women who undergo mastectomy are good candidates for breast reconstruction. Reconstruction can be performed at the time of the mastectomy or delayed for months or years. There are several methods of breast reconstruction.
The most common technique used. A skin stretcher (tissue expander) is placed under the chest muscle and skin, and over the course of several months is stretched by the addition of sterile saline fluid placed in the expander, to create a stretched breast-shaped pocket. The expander is then replaced with the permanent implant in an outpatient procedure to complete the reconstruction. A nipple reconstruction and areolar tattooing can be performed if the patient desires. This entire reconstructive procedure takes at least four months to complete, but longer if the patient undergoes chemotherapy.
TRAM Flap Reconstruction and Latissimus Flap reconstruction have specific benefits, but are used less often. These techniques can be discussed as the situation warrants.