Avoid Multiple Surgeries with Direct-to-Implant Breast Reconstruction

By Ravi Tandon, M.D. on November 21, 2018

A woman with her hand over her breastBreast reconstruction with implants makes it possible for women who have undergone a mastectomy to restore the appearance of their breasts.

Although its most common for breast reconstruction to be completed in stages, some women choose to receive breast implants at the time of a mastectomy through direct-to-implant breast reconstruction.

Dr. Ravi Tandon can work with your oncologist to determine of you are an ideal candidate for direct-to-implant breast reconstruction during consultations at his New Orleans, LA practice. If you would like to find out if direct-to-implant reconstruction is right for you, we welcome you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Tandon.

Direct-to-Implant Reconstruction Eliminates the Need for Tissue Expanders

Before direct-to-implant breast reconstruction was an option, breast reconstruction was primarily performed in stages after mastectomy. The first step involved placing tissue expanders, which are gradually inflated, to stretch the skin of the breasts and make room for the implants to be placed. After the skin was sufficiently stretched, another surgery would be performed to place the implants.

Although this remains a treatment option, many women choose to undergo direct-to-implant breast reconstruction to avoid multiple surgeries and enjoy restored breasts immediately following mastectomy. 

How Is Direct-to-Implant Breast Reconstruction Performed?

During direct-to-implant breast reconstruction, the final implant is placed during mastectomy surgery, when the breast tissue is removed. Although tissue expanders are not used in direct-to-implant breast reconstruction, the breast tissues must be rebuilt to support the implant.

A material called acellular dermal matrix is used for this purpose. It helps keep the implants in place and maintains their shape.

Direct-to-implant breast reconstruction makes it possible to reduce the number of surgeries for breast reconstruction and helps many women feel comfortable with their bodies after having one or both breasts removed.

Is Direct-to-Implant Reconstruction Right for Everyone?

While direct-to-implant reconstruction has helped many patients eliminate the need for multiple reconstruction surgeries, not all patients are ideal candidates.

Candidates for direct-to-implant breast reconstruction include those who:

  • Have sufficient tissue: There needs to be sufficient breast tissue remaining after a mastectomy to accommodate breast implants. If not, reconstruction will need to be done in stages.
  • Have had skin-sparing mastecomy: Women who have had a skin-sparing or nipple and areola-sparing mastectomy generally make ideal candidates for direct-to-implant reconstruction because they often have enough breast tissue to support implants.
  • Are willing to have small implants: Because breast tissue is removed during a mastectomy, patients who are considering direct-to-implant reconstruction must be willing to have their implants be the same size or smaller than their natural breasts.
  • Have healthy breast tissue: The breast tissue left after mastectomy must be healthy in order to properly heal from direct-to-implant breast reconstruction.
  • Have not previously had radiation: Patients that previously had radiation treatment and developed recurrent breast cancer are generally not good candidates for direct-to-implant breast reconstruction as the tissue may not be healthy enough to properly heal during recovery.
  • Are comfortable with the use of acellular dermal matrix: Acellular dermal matrix is harvested from the dermis layer, or deep layer, of human skin. The tissue is cleaned with antibiotics and unwanted cells are removed to make it safe for placement within the breasts. Although safe, some patients are uncomfortable with the idea of placing dermal cells within their breasts. For those patients, direct-to-implant breast reconstruction may not be ideal.

Find out If Direct-to-Implant Breast Reconstruction Is Right for You

For more information about direct-to-implant breast reconstruction, or to find out if this treatment is right for you, please call (504) 455-1000 to schedule a consultation. Dr. Tandon will work with you to find the right treatment for your needs.

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