I am 43 yo. In 5/2010 I underwent bilateral mastectomies due to breast cancer. My breast reconstruction w/ implants failed due to staph infection and the expanders were removed. We tried again in Jan 2011 using a latismus flap. My left breast became infected with staph once again, and the expander was removed. I presently have an expander in on the right and nothing on the left. Would you recommend I try implant surgery again, and if so, how long do you think I should wait?
Should I Attempt Breast Implant Reconstruction Surgery a Third Time?
Doctor Answers 2
Another Option for Breast Reconstruction
I would not suggest trying implants again. There is another option that is safe and requires no foreign objects or long traumatic surgeries. As compared
to the traditional methods, this does not involve incisions, new scars, or foreign
objects. You will keep close-to-normal sensation in your breasts and nipples. This is
unheard of with the traditional procedures. Also, the surgery is covered by insurance for
breast cancer patients. Some insurance carriers have already realized that this procedure
is a more cost-effective alternative overall than the traditional methods.
We usually remove the original implant or expander, if at that stage, through an incision in the armpit or on the side of the chest. We avoid reopening old scars over the breast because the grafted fat will leak out of these incisions, and the loss of graft will leave unsightly dents.
Our approach consists of gradually replacing the implant with fat grafts. The tissue laxity
left behind as we remove the implant makes room for the fat grafts. The more we step
down in implant size, the more room we create.
I would advise against it. If you have had issue twice with implants then a third time will likely not be a charm. Consider using only your own tissues for reconstruction such as a DIEP flap. That is the skin and fat of your abdomen which would normally be discarded in a tummy tuck but in this situation used to reconstruct a new breast. It requires special expertise and experience and not every plastic surgeon does this procedure. Go online and see who does this in your area. Its important for you to know the entire scope of your reconstruction options and not what is simply offerred in your local community (though it may be offered) and you are unaware. I have had this situation a number of times in my own practice and I usually perform a DIEP with a high sucess rate. Good luck and consult with a board certified plastic surgeon.
These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.