- Cancer Information
- Managing side effects
- Breast prostheses and reconstruction
- Breast reconstruction
- Implant reconstruction
An implant is a sac that’s filled with either silicone gel or a saltwater solution (saline). It is surgically inserted into the body to replace the removed breast tissue and create a new breast shape.
There are benefits and drawbacks to having an implant. You need to discuss these with your surgeon. You may also find it helpful to talk with someone who has an implant – Cancer Council 13 11 20 or a breast care nurse may be able to put you in touch with someone.
Learn more about:
- Types of implants
- How an implant reconstruction is done
- Risks of having an implant reconstruction
- Keeping up to date about the safety of your implants
- What to consider – implant reconstruction
These are used in almost all operations. A softer, honey-like type of gel was previously used, but implants are now made of a soft, semi-solid filling called cohesive gel. This gel is quite firm and holds its shape like jelly.
The surface texture of these implants can be smooth or have a rough (textured) surface. The rougher textured implants are called macro textured; the less textured implants are called micro textured. Textured implants grip to tissue better and are less likely to move position than smooth implants. Some textured implants have been removed from sale because of a rare side effect.
These are made of a solid silicone envelope filled with sterile saltwater (saline). They are no longer often used in reconstruction. Saline breast implants don’t look and feel as natural as silicone implants. They may gradually lose volume, deflate without wear out. Skin wrinkling and “sloshing” may also occur.
Woman with an implant reconstruction
After the reconstruction you will have a scar on your breast.
A/Prof Elisabeth Elder, Specialist Oncoplastic Breast Surgeon, Westmead Breast Cancer Institute and Clinical Associate Professor, The University of Sydney, NSW; Dragana Ceprnja, Senior Physiotherapist and Health Professional Educator, Westmead Hospital, NSW; Jan Davies, Consumer; Rosemerry Hodgkin, Consumer; Gillian Horton, Owner and Director, Colleen’s Lingerie and Swimwear, ACT; Ashleigh Mondolo, Clinical Nurse Consultant Breast Care Nurse, Mater Private Hospital South Brisbane, QLD; Dr Jane O’Brien, Specialist Oncoplastic Breast Cancer Surgeon, St Vincent’s Private Hospital, VIC; Moira Waters, Breast Care Nurse, Breast Cancer Care WA; Sharon Woolridge, Consumer; Rebecca Yeoh, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council Queensland.
The photograph above has been reproduced with permission from Breast Cancer: Taking Control © Boycare Publishing 2010
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