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Reconstruction after Mastectomy : The benefit of tissue expanders

If you've had a mastectomy due to breast cancer and are considering reconstruction, tissue expanders are a common option. They allow for gradual expansion of the chest tissue, enabling a natural-looking reconstruction. Take the first step in your reconstruction journey and find out more about this transformative approach.

The Advantages of Tissue Expanders for Reconstruction

Gradual Expansion

Tissue expanders allow for gradual expansion of the chest tissue, creating a natural-looking reconstruction.

Less Invasive

The tissue expansion process is less invasive than other surgical options and requires less downtime.

Flexible Timing

With tissue expanders, you can delay the final reconstruction surgery until after radiation and chemotherapy treatments are complete.

The Steps Involved in Tissue Expansion Reconstruction

The process of reconstruction using tissue expanders will be broken down to the following key steps:

Step 1: Tissue Expander Placement

The expanders are placed in a small incision made in the chest wall at the time of the mastectomy.

Step 2: Tissue Expansion

Sterile saline solution is injected into the expanders over time to gradually stretch the skin and tissue.

Step 3: Final Reconstruction

Once the proper amount of skin has been stretched, a new breast can be created via numerous reconstruction methods, including implants or flap surgery.

Why Some Doctors Prefer Delaying Implants or Flap Surgery

In some cases, doctors prefer to delay the final breast reconstruction surgery until after a patient completes other treatments like chemotherapy or radiation therapy. This can help reduce surgical complications and provide better outcomes for the patient.

Tissue Expanders

Expanders gradually stretch the skin and tissue, making it easier to create a natural-looking breast.


Implants can be more surgically risky in post-mastectomy patients who have undergone radiation therapy.

Deep Flap Surgery

This procedure involves the transfer of muscle, skin, and fat to create a new breast, which can be quite a lengthy process.

The Journey from Flat to Fabulous

With reconstruction surgery, you can go from a flat chest to a look you feel confident in. You also have the option to choose breast implants or flap reconstruction surgery. Let's look at the benefits of each:

Flat Chest

While a stark transition, choosing to remain flat removes the need for additional surgeries.

Breast Implants

Implants offer quick and effective results, enabling a fast return to normal activities.

Flap Reconstruction Surgery

This option creates a natural-looking, soft tissue feel and can provide long-lasting results.

Possible Risks and Complications of Reconstruction Surgery

Reconstruction surgery, like all surgeries, carries risks and complications. These may include infection, bleeding, and issues with anesthesia. Healing may also take longer due to side effects of chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Nonetheless, reconstruction surgery can offer transformative results, and side effects are far outnumbered by benefits.


As with any surgical procedure, there are potential risks and complications associated with reconstruction surgery.


Issues with anesthesia or infection can occur either during or after surgery, leading to complications.

Healing Time

Sometimes, healing may take longer due to the combination of reconstruction surgery and post-cancer treatment side effects.


The physical and emotional benefits of reconstruction surgery can be life-changing.

Patient Stories and Testimonials

Read about the inspiring journeys of those who have undergone reconstruction surgery after mastectomy.

Laura's Story

After fighting breast cancer, Laura took back control through tissue expanders and breast reconstruction surgery.

Jennifer's Story

Jennifer opted for flap reconstruction surgery after her mastectomy, which provided her with a natural shape and feel.

Rebecca's Story

Rebecca chose breast implants as her route towards returning to her pre-cancer self.

Find the Right Surgeon for You

To achieve the best possible outcomes, it is important to choose a skilled and experienced surgeon who specializes in breast reconstruction. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons has a database, making it easy to find a qualified surgeon near you. Find your surgeon today and take the first step in your journey to breast reconstruction.


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Before my breast cancer diagnosis, I was incredibly shallow. I was obsessed with my appearance and always striving to live up to the model image I had created for myself. I even dreamed of posing for Playboy one day. But after a double mastectomy, I am now so self-conscious that I can hardly recognize myself. It took me almost a month to look down at my chest after the surgery. I cried and cried for hours in the bathroom, wondering how this could be happening to me. I had always been so confident in my body, and now I felt like a stranger in my own skin. As a mother, I struggled with how to teach my daughter to be confident when I was struggling so much myself. How could I tell her to love herself when I didn't even recognize myself anymore? I was grateful for my surgeon's skilled hands and for getting the cancer out, but I hated the results. When people say that a mastectomy is not a boob job, they are right. The scars and the fact that I will never have sensation again at 34

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