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Implant Vs. Tissue Flap Reconstruction: Part II

In this second installment of my three-part implant versus tissue flap reconstruction blog series, I’ll be covering the advantages and disadvantages of implant breast reconstruction. To catch up, check out “Implant Vs. Tissue Flap Reconstruction: Part I.”

Advantages of Implant Reconstruction

The advantages of breast reconstruction with implants include:

  • Typically shorter surgery (about 2 hours for one side; roughly 3.5 hours for a bilateral/double reconstruction)
  • Only a single scar under or on the breast
  • Can be offered to women with a very thin stature
  • It is reversible (a flap reconstruction is still an option in the future if a woman chooses to change her type of reconstruction)

Disadvantages of Implant Reconstruction

Disadvantages of implant reconstruction include the probable need for additional surgery in the woman’s lifetime. Implants are indeed foreign bodies, and they can become infected, scar tissue can develop around them (known as “capsular contracture”), the implant can “fail” (leak or break), and the other breast usually requires a “balancing procedure” – such as an implant, a breast lift, or a breast reduction – in order to achieve the best possible match between the breasts. Additionally, the risk of complications with implants is significantly higher following radiation therapy.

Stay Tuned

To learn about the advantages and disadvantages of flap reconstruction, stay tuned for “Implant Vs. Tissue Flap Reconstruction: Part III.”

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Dr. Karen M. Horton, M.D. - Plastic Surgery, Physicians & Surgeons - Medical-M.D., San Francisco, CA