Breast Reconstruction With Saline or Silicone Gel Implants

Find information about breast reconstruction surgery using saline- or silicone gel-filled breast implants at Massachusetts General Hospital.

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Mass General offers many options for breast reconstruction, including:

Breast Reconstruction Using Implants

Breast reconstruction using implants can be done at the same time as your mastectomy (single-stage reconstruction) or as a delayed procedure (multi-staged reconstruction). In the latter case, a tissue expander is inserted to help stretch the muscle and tissue and make room for the implant.

Single-Stage Reconstruction

Single-stage reconstruction allows you to have your breast reconstructed during one rather than multiple procedures. If you have a good amount of healthy breast skin after your mastectomy, you may be a good candidate for this procedure.

In single-stage reconstruction, the surgeon inserts a saline or silicone gel implant behind the chest wall immediately following your mastectomy. At Mass General, we currently use acellular dermal matrix to position the implant, which adds a protective layer between implant and skin for a more natural-looking result.

Why Choose Mass General for Your Procedure

  • Harvard affiliated
  • 500+ breast reconstruction procedures per year
  • Coordinated care with your entire cancer team
  • Highly experienced in the latest procedures

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Reconstruction Using Tissue Expanders

An alternative to single-stage reconstruction is multi-staged reconstruction using tissue expanders.

In this type of reconstruction, a temporary tissue expander is placed behind the chest wall (either right after the mastectomy or as a delayed procedure). After the device is in place, fluid is periodically injected into the expander. This allows the muscle and tissue to stretch and accommodate a permanent implant.

The expansion process can take a few weeks or months, depending upon your desired breast size and how much fluid is added at the time of the initial procedure. After expansion is complete, you will undergo an outpatient procedure in which the surgeon replaces the expander with a permanent breast implant.

Breast Reconstruction at Mass General

Our plastic surgeons have extensive experience in all types of breast reconstructive techniques, including the newest and most innovative procedures. When appropriate, we combine techniques, using flaps, implants and nipple tattooing to achieve the most natural-looking outcome.

All forms of breast reconstruction after mastectomy have inherent risks, which will be fully discussed during your consultation.