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1. A tissue expander is inserted following the mastectomy to prepare for reconstruction.
5.The transported tissue forms a flap for a breast implant, or it may provide enough bulk to form the breast mound without an implant.
   
 
2. The expander is gradually filled with saline through an integrated or separate tube to stretch the skin enough to accept an implant beneath the chest muscle.
6.Tissue may be taken from the abdomen and tunneled to the breast or surgically transplanted to form a new breast mound.
   
 
3. After surgery, the breast mound is restored. Scars are permanent, but will fade with time. The nipple and areola are reconstructed at a later date.

7.After surgery, the breast mound, nipple, and areola are restored.
   
 
4. With flap surgery, tissue is taken from the back and tunneled to the front of the chest wall to support the reconstructed breast.
8.Scars at the breast, nipple, and abdomen will fade substantially with time, but may never disappear entirely
   
 

Illustrations & Sources: excerpts from America Society of Plastic Surgeons
Website: http://www.plasticsurgery.org/public_education/procedures/BreastReconstruction.cfm