Direct-to-implant breast reconstruction allows patients to return to their lives more quickly than a staged approach, but there’s still a recovery period. After your procedure, you can typically expect soreness, tightness, or tingling sensations around your breasts. It’s also normal to feel fatigued for several weeks after surgery.
While swelling or bruising can take slightly longer to subside, patients can usually return to most normal activities within six weeks. You should wait until you get the all-clear from your surgeon to resume intense exercise or heavy lifting. Our providers will give you detailed post-operative care instructions to ensure your recovery goes as quickly and smoothly as possible. You’ll also meet with your surgeon as you heal to ensure your recovery is on track.
Choosing Your Direct-to-Implant Breast Reconstruction Surgeon
When choosing a surgeon for your direct-to-implant breast reconstruction, you should keep a few qualifications in mind. Look for a board-certified plastic surgeon since this indicates he or she has completed a surgical residency and passed a rigorous oral and written examination. Your surgeon should also have extensive experience with breast reconstruction and be able to provide examples of past work. Your oncology team will also be able to recommend surgeons they trust.
Our board-certified plastic surgeons, Dr. Jeremy Williams and Dr. Christopher Williams, have extensive experience with advanced breast reconstruction techniques. If you choose to work with our team, you’ll be in highly qualified and empathetic hands.
Direct-to-Implant Breast Reconstruction
In traditional implant-based breast reconstruction, a surgeon will place a tissue expander beneath your chest wall, which expands the skin so implants can be placed. Every week or so, your surgeon will fill the expander with sterile saline solution through a small port that is left in place. This periodic stretching of the skin creates the pocket that will eventually hold your saline or silicone breast implant. This method allows you to ultimately choose your breast size, and may be necessary depending on your chemotherapy or radiation schedule.
Direct-to-implant reconstruction skips the tissue expansion step and instead goes straight to the implant. Also called a one-stage or single-stage breast reconstruction, this procedure involves placing the breast implant in the same surgery as the mastectomy. In doing so, you avoid weeks or months of repeated visits to the operating room, allowing you to get back to your life more quickly.
In this procedure, one of our experienced Denver breast reconstruction surgeons steps in as soon as your general surgeon has completed the mastectomy. The implant is placed immediately, and you leave the hospital with your new reconstructed breast.
During your one-on-one breast reconstruction consultation, your plastic surgeon will discuss whether you are a good candidate for this technique. The ideal candidate for one-stage breast reconstruction:
- Has smaller breasts that do not require tissue expansion
- Does not have a history of radiation to the breast or to the chest wall
- Is undergoing a prophylactic mastectomy
Your medical history and the nature of your breast cancer also play a major role in establishing your candidacy for this procedure. We’ll discuss all of your breast reconstruction options during your consultation at our Park Meadows office.
Advantages of the Single-Stage Procedure
The number one advantage of this type of breast reconstruction is the time you save after undergoing surgery to remove a natural breast. Rather than having to return for multiple surgeries, you can have one surgery in which the implant is placed as soon as your natural tissue is removed. But for some women, there are better options that outweigh the benefits of a single-stage procedure. The only way to know which type of reconstructive breast surgery will be best for you is to discuss your options with our board-certified plastic surgeons.
Frequently Asked Questions about Direct-to-Implant Breast Reconstruction
With direct-to-implant breast reconstruction gaining popularity, more patients have questions about this technique. Here’s what you need to know before your procedure.
Is Direct-to-Implant Breast Reconstruction Safe?
Direct-to-implant breast reconstruction is safe and effective for many mastectomy patients. A 2020 study of 1,286 patients showed that single-stage breast reconstruction had lower complication rates than reconstruction using tissue expanders and comparable rates to autologous reconstruction.
That said, many women can only achieve their desired results through staged reconstruction. Our experienced breast reconstruction specialists are highly skilled in direct-to-implant, staged, and autologous reconstruction and can determine if you’re a good candidate for certain procedures.
How Long Does Direct-to-Implant Reconstruction Surgery Last?
During your direct-to-implant surgery, your surgical team will coordinate to perform two procedures: a mastectomy and breast reconstruction. This process typically takes three to four hours but can vary based on your unique circumstances.
What Kind of Anesthesia Is Used During Direct-to-Implant Breast Reconstruction?
Your mastectomy and direct-to-implant breast reconstruction will be performed under general anesthesia so you won’t feel any pain during the procedure. After your surgery, you can expect to stay in the hospital overnight for observation. Barring any complications, patients can usually go home within 24 hours.
Will I Need Drains After Single-Stage Breast Implant Reconstruction?
Yes, the majority of patients will have drains after one-stage breast reconstruction. These remove excess fluids that can accumulate after surgery. Drains typically stay in place for 10 to 14 days.
Is Single-Stage Breast Reconstruction a “One and Done” Procedure?
One of the biggest draws of direct-to-implant breast reconstruction is that many patients want to avoid multiple procedures requiring general anesthesia and recovery time. Single-stage breast reconstruction can provide long-lasting results for many women in a single procedure. Some might choose to undergo outpatient nipple reconstruction at a later date if they weren’t a candidate for a nipple-sparing mastectomy.
Schedule a Breast Reconstruction Consultation in Lone Tree, CO
To learn more about direct-to-implant breast reconstruction, please contact Park Meadows Cosmetic Surgery using the form on this page or by dialing 303-706-1100 to schedule an appointment with one of our Denver breast reconstruction cosmetic surgeons.