As part of the process, you also need to choose between two of the most common forms of breast reconstruction surgery — implant-based reconstruction and flap-based reconstruction. Implant-based reconstruction involves using silicone or saline breast implants to fill out the breast pocket.
When it’s possible to insert the final implant directly into the breast pocket — which is usually the case — you can have one single, convenient reconstruction surgery. However, where it’s not possible to preserve most of your breast skin after removing a significant amount, you may have a special adjustable saline implant called a tissue expander fitted when you choose to begin the reconstruction process.
Over the weeks following your surgery, the gradual expansion of the implant (expander) can take place with the insertion of more saline. The remaining skin will gradually stretch in the process, making room for the final implant.