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Implant Based Breast Reconstruction

The loss of your breast or breasts due to cancer or a mastectomy can be overwhelmingly challenging. It is a significant change that can have a massive impact on your self-image. Fortunately, modern medical techniques allow for experts to reconstruct the breast. Implant-based breast reconstruction works to restore your breasts without borrowing tissue from other parts of your body.

Implant-Based Reconstruction Overview

Implant-based breast reconstruction focuses entirely on the chest area of the body. In these cases, a patient’s breasts are formed using only existing chest skin and a breast implant. Typically, the breast skin is first stretched gradually over time using tissue expanders. Fat grafting can be used as well to add extra volume.

Candidates for Implant-Based Breast Reconstruction Surgery:

  • Patients with a breast cancer diagnosis
  • Patients with a positive genetic screen which indicates a high likelihood of developing breast cancer at a later date
  • Patients who have already had a mastectomy or partial mastectomy (lumpectomy)
  • Patients who don’t have enough fat or tissue around their abdomen to remove and use for breast reconstruction; this may be thin or smaller-framed women or women with a history of abdominal surgery
  • Patients who, for other reasons, don’t want tissue removed from their abdomen

The Process
Selecting an Implant

During your initial consultation, the size and shape of your implant are discussed. Dr. Linville helps each patient determine which size makes the most sense for her, depending on aesthetic goals and the size of the patient’s frame. The goal is to achieve a natural shape resembling the patient’s original natural breasts. Though, in some cases, the patient chooses to go with a smaller or larger size.

Dr. Linville offers both round and anatomic implants, depending on the preferences of the patient. While the traditional round implants give a more augmented look, the anatomic implants result in a subtler, more natural shape.

Reconstruction begins when Dr. Linville places tissue expanders where an implant will eventually sit. A tissue expander is a little bit like a balloon. It gets filled with sterile saline over the following weeks until it is the size of the implant he intends to insert. Once the tissue expander reaches its final size, Dr. Linville will schedule another surgery and replace the expander with an implant.

In some cases, patients also choose to have fat grafting. Some fat is removed from another area of the body using liposuction. Then, it is purified and added to the breast to enhance the shape. Many patients select this because it uses the body’s natural material to restore their breasts.

Lastly, the nipple may be rebuilt, depending on your mastectomy. For other patients, a 3-D tattoo can be added at a later point.


Beyond Implant-based Breast Reconstruction


In select patients, this technique eliminates the need for a tissue expander. It places a permanent implant at the time of mastectomy. It delivers an immediate result, allowing patients to have complete breast reconstruction in as little as one surgery.

Pre-pectoral implant with soft tissue reinforcement

This is for a natural-looking breast restoration that also moves naturally. It can be combined with fat grafting as well.

Nipple-Sparing Mastectomy with direct-to-implant or free flap:

Though not for everyone, it preserves the nipple during a mastectomy. It can provide the best cosmetic outcome possible. It can also be combined with fat grafting to yield an unmatched aesthetic result.

Oncoplastic Surgery:

This method is done at the time of lumpectomy. It utilizes breast reduction principles to help shape and restore the breast.

Partial Breast Reconstruction for Lumpectomy Defects:

If you need a larger lumpectomy or segmental mastectomy, this technique can help preserve some parts of the breast without a full mastectomy. It restores the lost skin and breast volume with skin and fat from the side or back.

Staged Breast Reduction:

Begins with reducing and raising the breast and nipple before mastectomy via breast reduction. Its advantages are:
The breast envelope is optimized for a cosmetic result
Often spares the nipple
Can prevent the need for radiation once the mastectomy is completed at a later stage
This is optimal for women with very large breasts where the nipple is too low to be raised. It allows the chance to still perform a nipple-sparing mastectomy. This can be followed by implant or flap reconstruction.

Immediate Nipple Reconstruction:

Sometimes the nipple must be taken during a mastectomy. In this case, it is occasionally beneficial to build a new nipple at the same time as the initial reconstruction.

3-D Tattooing:

3D Tattoing is the absolute latest in techniques. And for it, Dr. Linville has teamed up with Houston’s best. He works with experts who specialize in creating and restoring the subtle nuances of the nipple and areola.


Following your surgery, you will receive specific instructions about how to care for yourself. This includes information about which medications to take and to avoid.

You will see be seen a few days later to check on your recovery. Dr. Linville will evaluate if it is on the right path. You will continue to be seen regularly for several months following surgery.

Dr. Linville will let you know how long to abstain from exercise and when you can resume full normal activities. Dr. Linville is always reachable if you experience any concerning symptoms. The best thing you can do for yourself is to carefully follow the post-operative instructions and give yourself plenty of rest.