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.

About This Procedure

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.

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.


Contact Us

Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

Wang Ambulatory Care Center 435

55 Fruit Street Boston, MA 02114, USA

We are also located at:

Mass General/North Shore Center for Outpatient Care
102 Endicott Street
Danvers, MA 01923

The Mass General Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery is located in the Wang Ambulatory Care Center at 15 Parkman St. Parking is available in the Parkman St. and nearby Fruit St. and Yawkey Center garages. Please note that some GPS systems do not recognize the 15 Parkman St. address. If you use a GPS system to drive to Mass General, enter Blossom St. as your destination, and then turn onto Parkman directly from Blossom.

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