Breast Reconstruction

Breast reconstruction is a surgical procedure that rebuilds a woman’s breast after a mastectomy or lumpectomy. It can involve the use of implants, autologous tissue, or a combination of both to restore the shape, size, and appearance of the breast.

Our highly experienced, board-certified plastic surgeons have performed thousands of cosmetic and reconstructive procedures. We invite you to book a consultation to discuss your goals and treatment options.

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Breast Reconstruction Benefits:

  • Restored Self-Esteem and Confidence

  • Improved Body Symmetry

  • Improved Physical Comfort

  • May Reduce Anxiety and Depression

  • Improved Quality of Life

Breast reconstruction surgery is a personal decision. It’s important to note that breast reconstruction surgery is not right for everyone, and it’s important to discuss all options with a qualified healthcare provider. However, for many women, breast reconstruction can be a life-changing procedure that offers numerous physical and emotional benefits. Breast reconstruction surgery can significantly improve a woman’s quality of life by helping her feel more like her pre-surgery self.

Losing one or both breasts can be emotionally traumatic, causing a significant blow to a woman’s self-esteem and confidence. Breast reconstruction surgery can help restore a woman’s sense of femininity and boost her self-image, which can have a positive impact on her overall quality of life.

What to Expect

The best breast reconstruction technique for each patient depends on several factors, including their medical history, breast size and shape, and personal preferences. Here are some of the most common techniques we use to reconstruct breast tissue after a mastectomy or lumpectomy.

  • Implant Reconstruction: For this procedure, we use implants to recreate the shape and size of the breast. Implant reconstruction is often a two-step process, but some patients may be candidates for an immediate single-stage reconstruction. In a two-stage operation, first we place a tissue expander, and then in a second procedure we place the permanent implant.
  • Autologous Reconstruction: Autologous reconstruction involves using tissue from the patient’s own body to create a new breast. The tissue can come from the abdomen, back, or buttocks.
  • Combination Reconstruction: Combination reconstruction involves using a combination of tissue from the patient’s body and an implant to create a new breast. This technique is often used for patients who do not have enough tissue for a complete autologous reconstruction.
  • Nipple Reconstruction: During this procedure, we create a new nipple and areola on the reconstructed breast using the patient’s own tissue or through tattooing.
  • Fat Grafting: This technique involves using liposuction to remove fat from another area of the body and injecting it into the breast to improve the overall shape and contour.

Medical Review: This procedural information has been medically reviewed by plastic and reconstructive surgeon, Brian A. Cripe, M.D.

Breast Reconstruction Before and After Photos

For privacy, we reserve the majority of before and after photos for viewing during in-office consultations. The cases presented are representative and shared with permission.

Breast Reconstruction Recovery and Aftercare

To optimize healing, we ask our patients to follow these recovery guidelines after their procedure. If you notice increased redness, discharge, or pain near your incision, please give us a call right away.

  • Incision Aftercare: After surgery, we’ll apply a surgical dressing to the incisions. Please be gentle with this area and keep it dry. You can shower after 48 hours, but avoid using hot water and getting the incision areas wet. Don’t submerge your body in water while bathing or swimming for four weeks. This helps reduce the risk of infection.

  • Post-Operative Bra: Depending on the procedure you undergo, we will give you a post-surgical compression garment to wear continuously for six weeks. This bra helps reduce swelling and improve incision healing. If you prefer, you can wear a sports bra or soft bra that also provides gentle compression. Don’t wear any undergarments with underwires for six weeks.

  • Medications: We’ll usually prescribe pain medications to help you feel more comfortable as you heal.

  • Scar Massage: After two weeks, once your incisions are fully healed, we’ll advise you to gently massage the scar areas with a gentle moisturizer.

  • Sun Protection: Breast reduction incisions are usually hidden by clothing, bikinis, and undergarments, however, sun exposure can impede scar healing and damage your skin cells, causing wrinkling. Wear sunscreen on your chest and avoid direct sun exposure on the incision areas to help keep your skin healthy and improve scar healing.

  • Laser Treatments: Laser skin resurfacing treatments can help improve the appearance of scars, and based on how you’re healing we may perform these during your follow-up appointments.

Breast Reconstruction FAQs

In many cases, breast reconstruction is covered by health insurance. The exact coverage and limitations of insurance plans can vary, so it is important to check with your insurance provider to determine what is covered under your specific plan.

The Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act of 1998 mandates that insurance providers that cover mastectomy must also cover breast reconstruction. This means that if your insurance policy covers mastectomy, it must also cover breast reconstruction surgery, including any necessary procedures to achieve symmetry between the reconstructed breast and the other breast.

However, there may be some limitations and requirements, such as the need for pre-authorization, a referral from a physician, and specific criteria for the type and timing of the reconstruction. It’s important to thoroughly review your insurance policy and consult with your healthcare provider to understand what is covered and any associated costs.

The duration of breast reconstruction can vary depending on the number of surgeries required and whether other cancer treatments are necessary. Typically, the reconstruction process takes between 6 months and one year to complete, regardless of the specific procedures involved, assuming no additional cancer treatment is required. It’s important to note that some patients may opt to forego nipple reconstruction, while others may require multiple surgeries to achieve a natural-looking symmetry between the reconstructed breast and the remaining natural breast.

Typically, a medical oncologist will wait until a patient has fully recovered from both their mastectomy and reconstruction before beginning chemotherapy. However, if there are any complications such as issues with wound healing or infection, chemotherapy may need to be postponed until these complications are resolved.

It may be advisable to postpone breast reconstruction until after completing radiation therapy. Radiation can potentially cause damage to the reconstruction and impact the overall cosmetic outcome. If radiation is necessary, the surgical team may suggest using the patient’s own tissue for delayed reconstruction, either on its own or in conjunction with an implant.

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Book Your Breast Surgery Appointment

Our experienced, board-certified plastic surgeons would love to bring you in for a consultation to discuss your goals and treatment options. Fill out this form to receive a call-back shortly, or give us a call at 928-774-2300.