Royal Belgian Society

Types of implant reconstruction

  • Post-mastectomy expander implant

    During this staged approach, a tissue expander (temporary device) is placed first to create a soft pocket that will eventually contain the permanent silicone or saline implant.

    Expansion will be started a few weeks post-op, after the patient has healed, as an in-office procedure. Once expansion is complete, the expander will be exchanged for the permanent implant during an outpatient procedure.

  • Direct-to-Implant

    Post-mastectomy reconstruction with a direct-to-implant or "one-step" approach allows for a single-stage reconstruction of the breast mound in select patients. This technique allows for a permanent implant to be placed immediately following mastectomy, foregoing the need for a tissue expander. Although an expander may be avoided, some patients may still require a secondary procedure.

Hospital stay: three to four days

Recovery time: several weeks


You are an ideal candidate for either of these procedures if you:

    • have no available flap options
    • do not desire a flap operation
    • do not have compromised tissue at the mastectomy site
    • have no history of radiation to the breast or chest wall
    • are having prophylactic mastectomies
    • want bilateral reconstruction
    • are having immediate reconstruction after nipple-areola-sparing mastectomy
    • desire an operation on the opposite breast to healp improve symmetry.


  • Options for breast implants

    saline breast implant is a sac (implant shell) made of silicone elastomer (rubber), which is surgically implanted under your chest tissues and / or muscle, and then filled with saline, a saltwater solution, through a valve. The amount of saline injected will affect the shape, firmness, and feel of the breast.

    Unlike saline breast implants, today's silicone gel breast implants are pre-filled.