While the removal of a breast due to the treatment of cancer and other disease can be daunting experience for many women, according to the website of the breast reconstruction experts at Bergman Folkers Plastic Surgery, new medical techniques and devices have made it possible for a breast to come close in both form and appearance to a woman’s natural breast.

Two common reconstruction processes include implant-based and autologous breast reconstruction techniques.

Implant-based reconstruction involves placing an implant that recreates the breast form. One is known as a one-stage reconstruction, while the other is known as a two-stage reconstruction. In a one-stage reconstruction, a silicone or saline implant is inserted directly without expanding the breast pocket. In a two-stage implant, a tissue expander is first placed in the breast pocket. This allows surgeons to insert a salt-water solution into the expander until the desired size and form is reached. Once the skin and muscle over the breast has expanded to a desired size, the expander is removed and a long-term implant like that of a one-stage process is inserted.

Advantages associated with implant-based reconstruction include no donor site complications, shorter surgery, quick recovery, and no movement of abdominal or back muscles.

Autologous breast reconstruction is process by which existing muscle, fat and skin tissue is used to form a new breast. Four common areas from which tissue is used to create the breast are the stomach (with or without additional muscle from the abdomen), upper back and shoulder, and buttock. It is important to note that not everyone is eligible for autologous reconstruction.

Advantages associated with autologous breast reconstruction include a more natural look and feel, no implant related complications, and a more natural functioning breast that fluctuates in size with weight gain or loss.