Breast reconstruction with an expander prosthesis
A silicone implant is a good option for a slim patient who does not have enough tissue of her own to be used for breast reconstruction. It is common for the mastectomy scar to be a little tight, and therefore it needs to be gradually stretched. A pocket is made under the pectoral (chest) muscle and an acellular dermal matrix is used to support its lower and outer part. An empty expander is then inserted into the pocket.
After the incision has healed, the process of gradually filling the expander prosthesis with saline solution is started. Saline solution can be added to the expander 1-2 times a week, depending on the flexibility of the skin and the scar. The expander is filled until it is slightly larger than the planned implant. Once the expansion is complete and the skin tightness has returned to normal, the tissue expander is exchanged for an implant. It is also possible to choose other reconstruction methods for replacing an expander in the pocket. See the picture below.
Finally, a nipple is reconstructed using a skin flap and, once these incisions have healed, an areola is tattooed around the reconstructed nipple.