Breast reconstruction with either silicone or saline implants can restore the shape and volume of one or both breasts after a mastectomy, or breast removal. Breast reconstruction following mastectomy is optional.

At MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper, our breast reconstructive surgeons collaborate with your breast surgeons to ensure you receive the best possible cosmetic results.

We work closely with you to choose which type of breast implant surgery is best for your unique situation. This personalized care ensures you receive implant surgery at a time that is right for you, with results that fit your lifestyle.

Our Approach to Breast Reconstruction With Implants

Our highly skilled surgeons offer all available approaches to breast reconstruction with implants. They meet with you one-on-one to discuss these approaches and help you decide on the best option. Surgical approaches, which doctors perform using general anesthesia, include:  

  • Reconstruction at the time of mastectomy: If you have enough remaining breast skin or muscle after mastectomy to cover the implant, surgeons may be able to perform the reconstruction at the time of a mastectomy.  
  • Staged implant reconstruction: This approach involves using an inflatable saline expander to stretch the skin, allowing surgeons to place larger or different-shaped implants at another time. Surgeons insert this expander at the time of mastectomy. Our specialists gradually add more saline solution during outpatient clinic visits, stretching the muscle and skin to the desired size. This approach can benefit women who do not initially have enough skin or muscle to cover the implant or who want a larger breast size following mastectomy.
  • Nipple/areolar reconstruction: Surgeons can perform nipple/areolar reconstruction after breast reconstruction with implants. Our doctors typically use nearby tissue to surgically reconstruct the nipple with or without areola tattooing, achieving excellent cosmetic results. While reconstructed nipples look natural, they do not provide the same sensation as your original nipple.
  • Additional procedures in the healthy breast: To achieve excellent symmetry and cosmetic results, our doctors can perform additional procedures in the healthy breast. These options include breast augmentation (mammoplasty), reduction, or lift.

Recovery From Breast Reconstruction With Implants

Receiving breast implants at the time of mastectomy generally doesn’t increase the length of your hospital stay. Recovery time after breast reconstruction with implants can vary.

After breast reconstruction with implants, doctors will likely restrict you from activities requiring upper body motion for three to six weeks. After that time, you can resume normal levels of physical activity.

Sometimes pain and stiffness develop around the shoulder after reconstructive surgery. Our physical therapists help you manage these side effects and return to your daily activities.

Breast implants wear out over time, and women typically need to have them replaced at some point after their initial reconstructive surgery.

Contact Us

To learn more about breast reconstruction services available at MD Anderson Cooper or to schedule an appointment, please call 855.MDA.COOPER (855.632.2667).

Refer a Patient

If you are a doctor who wants to refer a patient to MD Anderson Cooper, please call 855.MDA.COOPER (855.632.2667).