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Inova Link to Pink breast health tips archive

This month's tip is from:

Yongsook Victoria Suh, MD
Plastic Surgeon
Inova Breast Care Institute

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More on breast reconstruction
Life with Cancer


Breast Cancer and Implants

Surgical treatment for breast cancer can result in breast contour irregularity, volume loss, or loss of the breast.  These changes can affect the patient medically, functionally, and socially.

To restore the breast shape and symmetry, breast reconstruction is an option.  Breast implants are at the forefront of breast reconstruction and breast restoration.The most common reason for breast implants is to reconstruct the breast after a mastectomy.  This is a 2 stage process.  First, a tissue expander is placed under the chest wall muscle to expand the skin, the soft tissues, and the muscle.  Next, the tissue expander is replaced with the permanent, full sized breast implant.  In some patients, tissue expanders are not necessary at all. 

Volume loss from surgical treatment can also lead to asymmetry of the breasts.  If the asymmetry is significant, it can result in stress in the neck, shoulders, and upper back.  Implants are used to help restore this symmetry, however, surgery to the untreated breast may also be necessary to attain this symmetry.  Symmetry procedures include breast enhancement with an implant (Breast Augmentation), breast reduction, or breast lift.

There are two different types of implants - saline-filled and silicone-filled, also known as “gel” implants.  Both types of implants are used and you and your plastic surgeon can determine the best type for your situation.

Best Wishes,
Yongsook Victoria Suh, MD
Plastic Surgeon
Inova Breast Care Institute

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