Breast surgery with implants can be primary or secondary.
Nearly all patients are suitable for primary reconstruction with breast implants, but the decision depends on the tumour biology and amount of reconstruction needed. If radiation therapy is necessary following the initial surgery, this may increase the complication rate with breast implants and therefore primary reconstruction should not be the first choice.
Secondary reconstruction requires several steps. Firstly, the skin must be expanded using a tissue expander. A tissue expander is a special type of temporary implant that is inserted unfilled, and is then filled with saline solution via a remote or an integrated valve over the course of several weeks, to slowly expand the skin until there is enough tissue to insert a permanent implant. Then, the expander is replaced with the permanent implant in the desired size.
The variety of implant shapes available today makes it possible to achieve a very natural look.
Please note that breast implants are not lifetime devices. An implant may have to be removed or replaced, with no guarantee of a satisfactory cosmetic outcome from any reoperation. Complications may lead to one or more reoperations, and the risks of a reoperation are higher than the risks of the first surgery.