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Implant-based breast reconstruction and augmentation

Maurice Nahabedian, MD
Section Editor
Charles E Butler, MD, FACS
Deputy Editor
Kathryn A Collins, MD, PhD, FACS


Modern breast reconstruction began in 1964 with the introduction of the silicone breast implant. Since that time, implants have evolved, although the basic components have remained essentially unchanged. Implants themselves can be filled with either saline or silicone gel.

Breast implants are used either for reconstructive or aesthetic (cosmetic) purposes.

Implants can help restore the breast to normal appearance following a unilateral or bilateral mastectomy for patients with breast cancer, or following risk reduction surgery. Reconstruction can be performed immediately after the mastectomy or delayed. Implants may also be used for reconstruction of congenital or traumatic defects and for management of significant asymmetries.

Aesthetic uses for implants improve an otherwise normal breast and include breast augmentation, and, less commonly, implants can be used together with a mastopexy.

The prosthetic devices available for reconstruction, choice of procedure, timing, and surgical techniques of implant-based reconstruction will be reviewed here. The use of tissue flaps and grafts for reconstruction is reviewed separately. (See "Overview of breast reconstruction" and "Options for flap-based breast reconstruction".)

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Literature review current through: Oct 2017. | This topic last updated: Apr 24, 2017.
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