Implant Reconstruction with Tissue Expansion

In some cases, you may not have enough skin left to create a breast after a tumor removal. You might need implant reconstruction with tissue expansion to make space for a breast implant or flap.

This technique gently stretches or expands the leftover skin to make room for an implant. Before your surgery, your surgeon can tell you if you need tissue expansion.

The Procedure

Breast Reconstruction with Implants
Midsagittal section of breast showing tissue expander after mastectomy.

If you need tissue expansion, your surgeon will put a tissue expander in front of the pectoralis muscle (the push-up muscle in your chest).

Your surgeon can put in the tissue expander during your mastectomy if you’re having delayed immediate reconstruction. Our surgeons use advanced technology called to determine the health and blood supply of your leftover skin. This technology often helps expand the skin during the mastectomy.

A tissue expander works similar to a balloon. For a few weeks after surgery, the expander will gradually fill the tissue with either saline (salt water) or air. This will gently stretch your skin until you are happy with the size of the breast mound. We make sure you are comfortable and safe with the process.

After you have enough room for an implant or flap, your surgeon will remove the expander and put in a permanent implant. Then he or she will permanently close the incision.

You may choose to have nipple reconstruction and/or tattooing several weeks or months after your implant surgery.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often will my surgeon expand the balloon device? You and your plastic surgeon together will decide how often to expand the device and by how much. Your comfort and safety throughout the process are most important.

Breast Reconstruction Animation

Are you looking for plastic surgery procedures with natural-looking results?

Anne Arundel Medical Group Plastic Surgery