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)