What is a direct-to-implant breast reconstruction? Also known as an immediate implant breast reconstruction, this is a procedure in which a breast implant is placed at the time of a mastectomy in a single stage without a tissue expander or flap procedure.
Complete Your Implant-Based Breast Reconstruction in One Operation
Most breast implant-based breast reconstruction surgeries are performed in stages. The first stage is the removal of the breast tissue (mastectomy, double mastectomy, nipple-sparing mastectomy, or lumpectomy) and the initial breast reconstruction.
During this initial implant-based surgery, a tissue expander is usually placed in the breast. This expander is gradually filled over the following weeks. Its purpose is to gently stretch the skin in preparation for a final implant. Once the skin is prepared, the expander is removed and replaced with an implant.
Direct-to-implant reconstruction is different from this, as this technique does not require a tissue expander. Instead, the implant is added at the same time as the mastectomy.
What Is One-Step Implant Reconstruction?
In selected patients, one-step implant reconstruction can be performed where, at the time of the mastectomy, the implant is used to reconstruct the breast with the aid and support of a regenerative tissue matrix (acellular dermal matrix). This matrix acts as natural tissue to support and hold the implant in place.
With advances in implant technology, improvements have been made to the silicone shell and stable gel interior of implants. This makes it easier to perform implant-based reconstruction at the time of mastectomy with the assistance of tissue matrixes.
What Are the Benefits of Direct-to-Implant Reconstruction?
Direct-to-implant reconstruction is beneficial to women as:
- They do not need to return to multiple visits to increase the tissue expander
- They do not need to undergo surgery with anesthesia a second time
- Results are natural looking
- Women will not have to see themselves without their breast(s)
What Is the Recovery After Direct-to-Implant Reconstruction?
You may need to stay overnight in the hospital following your direct-to-implant reconstruction. The exact timeframe will vary depending on the particulars of your surgery and cancer treatment.
You will be sore and swollen following your treatment. Compression dressings and bras will be worn during the first several weeks of your recovery.
Most patients are fully recovered after four to six weeks. Dr. Sadeghi will provide you with a more accurate time estimate as well as good practices during recovery at your one-on-one consultation.
What Are the Risks of Direct-to-Implant Reconstruction?
Direct-to-implant reconstruction is a surgical procedure and comes with surgical risks, such as complications with anesthesia, infection, bleeding, prolonged wound healing, and unfavorable scarring. Additionally, capsular contracture remains a real risk after implant reconstruction, and this may necessitate revision surgeries in the future.
Capsular contracture is a condition where the scar tissue that develops after an implant is placed hardens, squeezing the implant and causing pain and aesthetic distortion.