Breast cancer reconstruction is a personal choice that many women decide to make. While undoubtedly being cancer-free is the number one priority, you may have questions about post-mastectomy or post-lumpectomy reconstructive procedures that Dr. Richland will be happy to answer.
improved quality of life
Breast reconstruction is an option for women who wish to restore the volume, shape, and contour of their breasts after a mastectomy or lumpectomy. However, breast reconstruction can be a long and emotional process, and therefore, it is not necessarily for everyone. Additionally, if you have significant medical comorbidities or are an active smoker, you may not be a good candidate for breast reconstruction.
In Newport Beach or Huntington Beach
Breast reconstruction can be much more meaningful and emotional than most cosmetic procedures. Beyond the skill and experience to produce the best results, you want a provider with the compassion and disposition to get to know you and assure you throughout your treatment.
Dr. Richland’s patients not only love their results but often speak to his kindness and ability to make them feel at ease. Begin your journey with board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Brandon Richland to ensure that you receive the highest level of care and optimal outcome.
This is the most common method for post-mastectomy breast reconstruction performed in the United States today. Many women choose to have this type of reconstruction performed because there is generally less pain and less recovery time when compared to autologous tissue. Additionally they can avoid having a second surgical donor site as is needed in autologous tissue reconstruction.
If you are undergoing implant-based reconstruction, either a tissue expander or permanent implant will be placed. If you have a tissue expander placed, you will need to return to the clinic every few weeks to fill the expander with saline. While this may seem time-consuming, it gives you the control to decide exactly what size and volume you would prefer. A second surgery is then required at a later date to remove the tissue expander and place a permanent implant.
Some women are candidates to have the permanent implant placed at the time of surgery. While this may seem preferable, not all women are candidates for this procedure. Dr. Richland will be able to discuss if you are a candidate for this procedure.
This type of reconstruction utilizes your own tissue to reconstruct the breast. The advantage of this option is that by utilizing your own tissue, you may be able to avoid the use of an implant. The tissue is most commonly taken from the back (latissimus flap) or abdomen (TRAM flap, or DIEP flap) but can also be taken from other areas as well.
If you are undergoing a lumpectomy, you may wish to have oncoplastic reconstruction performed at the same time. This type of procedure utilizes your own breast tissue to fill in the defect from the lumpectomy, resulting in a more natural breast shape. Additionally, if you have “drooping” or “saggy” breasts, a breast lift may be able to be performed at the same time as well.
With immediate breast reconstruction, the breast reconstruction is performed at the same time as the mastectomy.
Some women, either due to preference or medical conditions, choose not to have reconstruction performed at the same time as the mastectomy. If this is the case, after you heal from the mastectomy, your breast reconstruction procedure can be performed at a later date. This allows you to heal both physically and emotionally from the initial procedure before undergoing reconstruction.
After your initial reconstruction, some women who are thin may wish to have fat grafting performed to smooth out their breast contour and fill out the upper breast if it is hollow. This is similar to any fat grafting procedure where liposuction is performed to remove fat from unwanted areas (belly, flanks, thighs) and placed where more volume is needed.
This is the final stage of breast reconstruction. If your nipple and areola were removed during the initial mastectomy, Dr. Richland can perform a procedure to reconstruct your nipple. Then tattooing will be performed to re-create the surrounding areola.
If you have implant-based reconstruction performed at the time of a mastectomy, you will likely spend one night in the hospital for monitoring. You will be placed in a soft post-surgical bra for comfort and may have one or more surgical drains to help remove excess fluid from the breast. You will be able to return to work and normal activity, except for strenuous physical activity or vigorous exercise, within one to two weeks postoperatively. If you have autologous breast reconstruction, you may spend one or more nights in the hospital. You will be placed in a soft post-surgical bra and will have several surgical drains placed. Depending on the type of autologous procedure performed, it may be four to six weeks until you can return to work and normal activity.
Yes, all procedures related to your breast cancer and breast reconstruction are covered by insurance according to the federal Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act (WHCRA). This includes not only procedures on the affected breast but also the other breast as well for symmetry. This may include an augmentation, lift, or reduction on the non-cancer side.
The number of surgeries will vary depending on the type of method for reconstruction and your individual goals. Most women have more than one surgery, though. A small subset of women will require only one surgery if the permanent implant can be placed at the time of the mastectomy. However, you may still wish to have minor revision procedures at a later time, including fat grafting, nipple reconstruction, and/or contralateral breast symmetry procedures such as a lift, augmentation, or reduction.
Breast reconstruction can be performed before or after radiation. However, in both cases, radiation increases the risk of major complications. Therefore, if you require or may require radiation, you will need to discuss this in detail with Dr. Richland.
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The journey to your ideal look and life should be one of excitement and assuredness. With Dr. Brandon Richland, you can expect nothing short of excellence from your initial consultation to the moment you realize your final results. Take the first step to realizing your aesthetic goals by scheduling a consultation in Newport Beach or Huntington Beach. Please complete this form to request an in-person consultation or click here for a Virtual Consultation.