We specialize in state-of-the-art breast reconstruction techniques using your body’s own tissue without sacrificing important functional muscles.

Considered the most advanced in the world today, our procedures result in a breast that closely matches your own in shape and softness.

Implant Reconstruction

Implant reconstruction uses a temporary expander to stretch the skin and muscle.  Approximately three to six months after the placement and expansion of the expander a permanent implant replaces the expander to give the final breast mound shape.

The permanent implant is a silicone bag filled with saline (salt water) or gelled silicon.  All permanent implant shells are made of silicon. In other words, both saline and silicone implants have a silicon shell – the only difference is what is inside the shell.  Saline implants are filled with salt water (saline) and silicone implants are filled with gelled silicone.

An important consideration to the use of an implant is that the implant is truly not “permanent”. Implants have a life expectancy of between 10 to 20 years, and most are replaced between 10 to 15 years.

There are four main steps of implant reconstruction:

Step One: Expander Placement
The expander is a silicone bag placed below the pectoralis major muscle of the chest at the time of the mastectomy. The expander bag is partially inflated. The procedure is completed by closing the mastectomy defect, and a drain is left under the remaining breast skin.

Step Two: Filling Expander
Approximately two weeks after the placement of the expander, the expander is inflated by placing a needle into the filling port and injecting saline solution. This is done weekly until the expander is 20% larger than the breast on the other side. Some pain and discomfort similar to that of a pulled muscle is felt for a day after each expansion.

Step Three: Waiting
Once the required volume has been reached, the expander is left in place for three months. This allows time for the overlying muscle and skin to stretch. The breast with the expander will look larger and will feel much harder than the opposite breast.  You can expect some level of discomfort during this time period.

Step Four: Exchange
The next operation is done three to six months later.  At this time, the expander is taken out and replaced with a permanent implant – either silicone or saline, whichever is decided on at this time. The final implant is placed below the pectoralis muscle in the “pocket” that was created by the expander in the previous months.

Step Five: Nipple Reconstruction
Final adjustments and nipple reconstruction are done six to eight weeks after the placement of the implant. Nipple reconstruction is done under local anesthesia and only takes 30-45 minutes to complete.  The areola is done by tattooing to make the colour of a nature areola.  Each tattoo can take one hour and may need to be done one or two times to achieve the right colour;

Potential Complications with Implant and Expanders

Immediate (less than 1 week)

  • Infection
  • Extrusion- the implant is forced out of position
  • Hematoma- blood collection under the skin
  • Seroma- serum fluid collecting
  • Mis –positioning of the implant

These complications occur in 1 to 10% of patients and are treated with antibiotics or a minor repeat operation.

Short-term (1 week to 6 months):

  • Infection
  • Asymmetry of reconstructed breast when compared to other breast
  • Extrusion
  • Leakage or rupture.

These complications may require longer term antibiotics or a repeat surgery.

Long-term:

  • Capsular contraction, resulting in asymmetry, pain, hardening or change in shape of the implant.
  • Leakage, rupture,
  • Infection
  • Asymmetry of reconstructed breast when compared to other breast

These complications result in a re-operation in 30% of patients within four years of the initial breast implant reconstruction surgery.