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Implant-based Breast Reconstruction in New York City

ProceduresImplant-based Breast Reconstruction

Introduction to Implant-based Breast Reconstruction

At our boutique plastic surgery practice in New York City, implant-based breast reconstruction is a common procedure. Breast implants are commonly used in both aesthetic and reconstructive plastic surgery. In cosmetic surgery, breast implants are used to enlarge and/or lift the breasts. In reconstructive surgery, breast implants are used to recreate the breast mound after mastectomy. Multiple types of breast implants can be used, and breast implants can be placed either underneath or above the chest wall muscles. Over time, whether they are used for cosmetic or reconstructive purposes, all breast implants may need to be changed or removed.

As one of the leading breast reconstruction practices in New York, Dr. Constance Chen takes pride in providing her patients with restorative options for breast reconstruction. If after reading our guide to the surgery you have questions or would like to schedule a consultation, please contact us today.

What is Implant-based Breast Reconstruction?

Implant-based breast reconstruction uses breast implants to reconstruct the breasts after mastectomy. After a patient undergoes a mastectomy, the breast is removed. For patients who would like to reconstruct their breasts, one option is to use breast implants to build a breast mound. Usually, a tissue expander is placed first – either under or above the pectoralis muscle. The tissue expander may be partially filled with air or saline, and it may be expanded after surgery in the surgeon’s office. Once the tissue expander has been completely expanded, it is exchanged for a permanent breast implant. Breast implants can have a smooth or textured shell, round or shaped, and they can be filled with saline or silicone.

Who are the Best Candidates for Implant-based Breast Reconstruction?

The best candidates for implant-based breast reconstruction are:

  • Healthy with no medical comorbidities
  • No need for radiation therapy
  • Ideal body weight
  • Non-smoker

Breast implants may be differentiated by:

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Dr. Constance Chen and staff

After implant-based breast reconstruction, patients may have drains in place for 1-2 weeks or more. Drains are removed when they are draining less than 20 cc/day x 2 consecutive days. Patients should avoid heavy lifting over 5 pounds. Patients should also avoid repetitive arm movement so that the tissues can heal in place. Prepectoral or above-the-muscle breast implants are significantly more comfortable than subpectoral or below-the-muscle breast implants, so patients will likely need significantly less pain medication. Regardless, all patients are given pain medication to address any postoperative discomfort.

Almost all breast implants used in the United States have a 10-year warranty. While some implants can last for decades, many implants need to be changed in a much shorter period of time. Implants are not expected to last forever. According to data gathered by implant manufacturers, about half of breast implants need to be changed within seven years. The most common reasons for implant problems include capsular contracture, rupture, and infection.

For patients who undergo traditional mastectomies that remove the nipple-areola complex, it is possible to reconstruct the nipple. This is usually done by manipulating the remaining breast skin to create a 3-dimensional nipple. It is safest to perform a nipple reconstruction on patients who have undergone autologous tissue breast reconstruction because the breast skin will be living off of the natural tissue within it. It may not be possible to reconstruct the nipple in patients who have undergone implant-based breast reconstruction with radiation therapy, because the skin may be too compromised by radiation and the underlying artificial implant does not help keep the skin alive. In patients who cannot undergo nipple reconstruction, it is usually possible to either undergo nipple tattooing or use a 3-dimensional silicone nipple prosthesis that is attached to the breast skin with skin adhesive.

Summary of Implant-based Breast Reconstruction

Breast implants are commonly used for both aesthetic breast augmentation and breast reconstruction. Both saline and silicone breast implants have undergone extensive studies, and are currently approved for use in the USA. Breast implants are not without problems, however, and careful consideration should be given to the risks prior to placing breast implants. The FDA recently added a black box warning to breast implants, and patients are legally required to sign an extensive checklist acknowledging the risks associated with breast implants. Patients should also know that breast implants are not expected to last forever, and they may need to be removed or replaced over time.

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Why Choose Dr. Chen for Implant-Based Breast Reconstruction

Dr. Chen is well-known for her expertise in breast reconstruction, including Implant-based Breast Reconstruction. She is a pioneer in the most innovative forms of breast reconstruction, including prepectoral breast implants in breast reconstruction. Dr. Chen also focuses on an aesthetic approach to breast reconstruction, because she understands the new breasts will affect a woman for the rest of her life. Some of Dr. Chen’s former patients have been so transformed by their breast reconstruction that they took the initiative to form a network, called the “Bosom Buddies,” in which they provide support and practical tips to new patients who are starting their own breast reconstruction journey.

How Much Does Implant-Based Breast Reconstruction Cost in NYC?

Implant-based breast reconstruction is covered by insurance, but an individual’s insurance benefits will vary depending on the carrier. A personal consultation is necessary in order to develop a surgical plan. Once a surgical plan is developed, our patient coordinator can provide you with a cost estimate and discuss insurance options with you.

Schedule Your Consultation

Dr. Constance Chen is well known for natural tissue breast reconstruction, and many patients fly in to New York to undergo these procedures. Please contact us to schedule a consultation. Dr. Chen looks forward to meeting with you to learn more about your situation and answer your questions.

Reach out to us

Many of our patients have volunteered to speak with other women who may have questions about what it is like to go through restorative breast and body surgery. If you would like to speak with someone who has already gone through the process, please contact us and we will find a “buddy” for you.


The Bosom Buddies are available for emotional support, practical tips, sharing stories, and other types of real life help that can help other women feel more comfortable and safe in their journey.

Out-of-Town Patients

With patients from all over the world, we do our best to help provide optimal resources when traveling to New York City for plastic surgery. Whether you're looking for a hotel or other lodging, this can be a tool while booking your travel.

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Schedule a Consultation

Please reach out to us with any questions that you may have. If you would like more information or would like to make an appointment, we would be happy to speak with you. We look forward to helping you throughout your journey.

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Patient Resources

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News & Media

As one of the leading breast reconstruction specialists in the United States, Dr. Constance Chen has been featured in over 100 news and media publications and journals over her years in practice.

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