For women with breast cancer, having a mastectomy is both a blessing and a curse, says Marla Ahlgrimm. On one hand, the cancer is gone, on the other, so is one of a woman’s most defining features. However, thanks to modern medicine, there are options to reshape the breasts.
Breast reconstruction, according to Marla Ahlgrimm, is essentially the addition of breast implants and potentially re-created areolas. Women who have undergone a single mastectomy may elect reconstructive surgery on one or both breasts.
Breast implants are typically placed in two separate procedures. The first Marla Ahlgrimm explains, involves inserting a tissue expander underneath the remaining skin and chest muscles. The expander device is gradually filled with a saline solution over the course of eight to 26 weeks. Once the expander has reached its capacity and tissue healed, a permanent implant is inserted. Depending on the woman’s breast structure, a physician may elect to place the implant at the time of the mastectomy.