Plastic Surgeon • Newport Beach • Los Angeles
Dr. Bandy is trained in all aspects of breast surgery for reconstruction such as inverted nipples, breast asymmetry, breast reconstruction, and male breast reduction. She offers the latest advancements in reconstructive breast surgery of all types. Call our office now to learn more about Breast Reconstruction or any other procedure.
Before and After
What is Breast Reconstruction?Breast reconstruction can be construed from a multitude of angles. Many people think of breast reconstruction solely in the context of a woman who has had surgery for cancer and now that breast needs to be reconstructed because there is no longer a breast there. However, in the current times, breast reconstruction can also be inclusive of women who have had either a bad surgery to their breasts previously or has had an infection to their breast or a deflation to their implant. It also can include women who are born with a defect called Poland Syndrome where one breast does not develop normally. Thus, reconstruction can be visualized in a very broad sense of making a breast back to normal.
How long is the Breast Reconstruction surgery?Breast Reconstruction operating time varies. Depending on what type of surgery it is, it can be a very short or very long surgery. Breast Reconstruction surgery can be as short as an hour if it is simply somebody who has had a deflation to one of their implants and otherwise their breasts are normal, soft, and symmetric. On the other hand, if it is a patient who has or has had breast cancer and needs complete rebuilding of that breast, something called a TRAM flap (Transverse Rectus Abdominis Myocutaneous flap) can take 6 to 8 hours.
Who is Breast Reconstruction recommended for?Breast reconstruction is recommended for anyone who feels that their breasts do not have a normal or good shape.
What type of Breast Reconstruction is popular?The type of breast reconstruction that is performed depends on what the type of issue is. Some women who have had mastectomy for breast cancer choose to have implants placed, and some women choose to have breast reconstruction with their own tissues. Thus, there are several types of surgeries that are popular for breast reconstruction.
What is the recovery time and the healing process?The recovery time and healing time is going to vary according to the patient's health, age, and the type of procedure they are having. For something as simple as a breast implant exchange for a deflated implant, the recovery period is very quick and people are normally back to doing their normal activities (other than heavy lifting or use of their pectoralis muscles) within a week's time. However, for more extreme surgeries, such as the TRAM flap, that recovery is really prolonged and it can take up to a year before that patient really feels back to normal.
What activity should I refrain from after Breast Reconstruction?During the immediate post-operative period, patients should refrain from any heavy lifting and any excessive use of the pectoralis muscles in exercise and related activities. Typically within six weeks of most surgeries, patients are back to doing everything that they were able to do prior to surgery.
Are there any other procedures commonly performed along with Breast Reconstruction?For breast lift (mastopexy), it depends on what type of breast reconstruction you are doing on the patient and whether or not they have excess skin. For example, there are some women who have had breast cancer detected and they are going to have immediate breast reconstruction. If they have very large breasts to begin with, then they will have a portion of their skin removed for the mastopexy because their reconstructed breast will not be as large as what their natural breast was.
Some patients may come in for what we call a Mommy Makeover and they will be including their breast reconstruction with other surgeries such as liposuction, tummy tuck, and possibly Brazilian Butt Lift, and labiaplasty. But if it is only breast reconstruction solely for reconstructing the breast post-mastectomy for breast cancer, there are typically no other procedures combined with breast reconstruction surgery.
Are there financing options for Breast Reconstruction?Typically, breast reconstruction is medically viewed as the building of a breast after removal of a breast (mastectomy) for cancer. However, many patients also consider the cosmetic correction of a deformed breast from previous poorly-performed surgeries or complications from previous breast surgeries as being reconstruction breast surgeries. Thus, patients think of the following procedures as breast reconstruction surgeries, but insurance companies actually look at them as cosmetic surgeries:
-Breast Implant Exchange, Capsulotomy, Capsulorrhaphy, Mastopexy
Depending on what the reasons are for having breast reconstruction, sometimes breast reconstruction surgery is covered by insurance or sometimes it is considered cosmetic, especially if the original surgery for the breast was a cosmetic procedure. Therefore, we would first look into seeing whether or not there is insurance coverage for the patient. If not, there are financing options available.
What is the average cost for Breast Reconstruction?The range of cost for breast reconstruction surgery will depend on the procedure that is to be done. It can range from about $6,000 and up.
How long before I see results of Breast Reconstruction?As with any surgery, the breasts will be swollen afterwards and there may or may not be bruising so it is difficult to see the final shape and size of the breast. Typically, by about 4 -6 weeks, you should have a very good idea of what the breast is going to look like.
Is scarring expected after Breast Reconstruction?The degree of scarring depends on the type of procedure performed. For example, an implant exchange procedure will even result in some sort of scarring because the surgeon is going to need access to the pocket, so there will be a small scar for that. For breast reconstruction surgery performed along with breast lift , there are larger scars.
How can I prepare for Breast Reconstruction?As for most surgeries, make sure that you are healthy by eating nutritious food and exercising. Have your blood work done to make sure that you are healthy and to emotionally prepare yourself for what you are about to undergo and have a good support group at home who is going to be emotionally supporting you and taking care of you after the surgery.
When is Breast Reconstruction typically performed?For breast cancer patients, breast reconstruction surgery can be immediate or delayed, depending on the circumstances. The plastic surgeon may be assisting the general surgeon at the mastectomy procedure, and the initial stage of breast reconstruction can be done when the mastectomy is done. When the breast is being removed by the general surgeon, the plastic surgeon can immediately come in and place a tissue expander so that as the tissues are healing, you can slowly start expanding that skin so that it stretches to accommodate the implants, if applicable. If the patient is not going to have implants but rather TRAM flaps, that is often done at the same time as the mastectomy as well.
The plastic surgeon would go over the patient's different options for breast reconstruction (with implants or patient's own tissue), whether they are a good candidate for doing it at the same time they are removing their breasts, or whether they should have a delayed reconstruction. Then, the general surgeon and plastic surgeon will coordinate their times to perform procedures together at the hospital if applicable.
Will anesthesia be administered for Breast Reconstruction?Yes, general anesthesia will be administered for breast reconstruction surgery. Depending on the procedure, it can be from 1 hour to 8 hours.
Is Breast Reconstruction painful?Any surgery can be painful and pain will vary from patient to patient depending on the way their brain interprets pain, how healthy they are, and what procedure they are having. For breast reconstruction, there may be some pain and soreness after the surgery. As long as there are no adverse sequelae or complications, typically within a week to two weeks, the patients soreness should subside greatly. However, if they have complications such as infections or hematoma, pain might be prolonged and the patient might require additional surgery.
Typically, breast reconstruction for a breast cancer patient may have higher risk of complications and infection, because the cancer patient might have their immune system compromised and not be as healthy. The patient may or may not be undergoing chemotherapy and they are typically an older patient.