About Breast Reconstruction
Surgical breast reconstruction can be performed to restore the shape and size of your chest following a lumpectomy or mastectomy. Breast reconstruction surgery can also help if your chest has been damaged by a birth defect or trauma. New techniques in reconstructive surgery make it easier for women to have breasts that look natural after cancer treatment or damage. Breast reconstruction surgery may be done at the same time as your breast cancer treatment or delayed until the treatment is complete. Plastic and reconstructive surgeon Dr. Ethan Baughman creates an individualized surgical plan with compassion as we help you restore your appearance and confidence at Ethan Baughman Plastic Surgery in Westlake Village, CA.
"I degloved my right thumb in an accident. West Hills hospital referred me to Dr Baughman. He has guided me through recovery. He was always available to encourage me. It looked very bad in the beginning. We were sending photos daily and he responded so quickly. I've never experienced that level of care. This was a scary injury and I needed and appreciated his guidance. I was thankful for his boost of confidence that I was on the right track. I would highly recommend Dr Ethan Baughman."- L.&. / Google / Dec 14, 2022
"Amazing experience with Dr. Baughman. Right from the start his professionalism and friendly disposition put me at ease. He is extremely accommodating and really works with you. He is patient and addressed any and all questions and/or concerns I had throughout the entire process. He is a skilled surgeon and I am very happy with the results. I would absolutely recommend him And would go back to him in a heart beat."- B.M. / Google / Nov 30, 2022
"Dr. baughman did a beautiful job on my sons finger! Very kind and communicative!"- J.C. / Google / Nov 08, 2022
"Dr. Baughman positively saved my hand and possibly my life. I am beyond grateful and impressed by both his professionalism and surgeon skills. It was his decision to proceed with an urgent surgery and one that no doubt changed my life for the better. His knowledge, skills, experience and professionalism are second to none. I can confidently & STRONGLY recommend Dr. Baughman. THANK YOU ONCE AGAIN!"- D.S. / Google / Oct 26, 2022
"I went to Dr. Baughman for a hand injury and he and his staff couldn't have been nicer or more professional. Never had to wait for my appt, even when I was late. Answered every question I had and made me confident I could trust him. Very happy I went to see him."- D.R. / Google / Oct 19, 2022
Reconstruction of the breast(s) is an extremely personalized surgery. You will start with an in-depth consultation appointment with Dr. Baughman to create your surgical plan based on your concerns and needs. If you are planning to have breast reconstruction surgery, it's vital that you understand realistic expectations for results. While Dr. Baughman aims to give you an attractive, natural appearance, your reconstructed breast(s) may not have the same look, sensations, or feel like your original breast(s). You should get approval from your oncology team to undergo reconstructive surgery and talk to Dr. Baughman regarding other factors that may impact your recovery.
There's a variety of surgical techniques available to reconstruct the breast. There are multiple factors that Dr. Baughman looks at when deciding on the technique that will give you your best results. A few of these factors include your specific cancer diagnosis, when the reconstruction is performed, whether you will use implants or natural tissue, and if nipple reconstruction or nipple-sparing is a part of the treatment plan. To recreate the breast, you must have enough tissue to fully cover the breast mound. Flap procedures accomplish this by using your own muscle, fat, and skin to build and cover the breast. The most frequently used flap techniques are:
- TRAM Flap
This technique takes skin, fat, and muscle from your stomach to create the breast. The tissue selected to build the new breast may be removed from the stomach and reconnected to blood vessels in your chest or the tissue may stay connected to the donor location, maintaining the original blood supply.
- DIEP Flap
Similar to a TRAM flap, the DIEP flap removes skin, fat, and blood vessels from the lower abdominal area; however, it does not use the muscle. The DIEP (deep inferior epigastric perforator) flap removes skin and fat from the belly to form the new breast, then uses microsurgery to reattach the blood vessels to the chest wall.
- Latissimus Dorsi Flap
This technique uses muscle, fat, and skin from your back. During this technique, tissue is taken from your back and moved to your breast(s) via a surgically created path so it stays attached to the donor location, which keeps the original blood supply in place.
Although flap procedures are a common and highly successful method for breast reconstruction surgery, you may want to rebuild your breast(s) with the tissue expansion method. This technique places a tissue expander below the breast wall and then gradually fills it with a saline solution over 4 – 6 months to stretch the skin naturally. After you choose the flap method or tissue expansion, you may then decide whether you would prefer to use breast implants or a fat transfer to create the shape and volume of the breast(s). After your reconstruction mammoplasty, you can have areola and nipple reconstruction.
What to Expect
Surgical breast reconstruction is done in several steps. In some phases (like the flap creation, tissue expansion, or implant placement), general anesthesia is often used. Some patients may need to stay overnight, but this is based on the current treatment phase. When the last stage is completed for your breast reconstruction, you should wear a compression bra and you may be prescribed medication by Dr. Baughman to help with swelling and discomfort. Regular checks with breast exams and mammograms are important and highly recommended for long-term health.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does breast reconstruction surgery cost?
Breast reconstruction surgery can be complicated so to get great results, you should focus on choosing a plastic and reconstructive surgeon who has years of training, like Dr. Baughman, over the cheapest price. During your initial consultation, Dr. Baughman will take time to understand your concerns and cosmetic goals before crafting your custom reconstruction plan. Once this is done, he will talk to you about costs, options for payment, and low-interest financing.
Does insurance cover my surgery?
The WHCRA (Women's Health and Cancer Rights Act) of 1998 requires health insurance policies that cover breast cancer surgery (mastectomy) to cover reconstruction surgery as well. If you have insurance, a team member at Ethan Baughman Plastic Surgery will help explain your policy and coverage. We can also assist you with getting information and paperwork to your insurance carrier.
Which technique should I choose?
With so many options, there is no single reconstruction technique that works for every patient. The recommended method for you will be based on your concerns, wants, and physique. In your initial consultation, Dr. Baughman will go over your choices, including both flaps and implants so you understand the benefits and challenges before you decide on your treatment plan. Whether you choose a flap or implants, Dr. Baughman will do his best to give you natural-looking results.
What about nipple reconstruction?
Reconstruction of the nipple-areola complex is typically done using cosmetic tattooing. If you're interested in having your nipple-areola complex tattooed onto your reconstructed breast(s), you should tell Dr. Baughman in your initial consultation. He will go over your options to help you decide whether you'd like 3D tattooing of the nipple and areola to be included in your surgical plan.
Should I have reconstruction with my mastectomy or wait?
The timing of your breast reconstruction is based on several things. Some patients decide to get their breast(s) reconstructed along with their mastectomy while some patients decide to defer reconstruction surgery. Dr. Baughman suggests you make an appointment for a consultation following a diagnosis of breast cancer so you can start learning about your choices, including when you want to have breast reconstruction surgery. If you want to get reconstruction with your breast cancer treatment, Dr. Baughman will collaborate with your oncology team to plan your care.
Plan Your Procedure
- Recovery Time
- 1 – 2 Weeks
- Average Procedure Time
- 4 – 8 Hours
- Procedure Recovery Location
Reclaim Your Self-Confidence
Although the process of breast reconstruction can take time, it's probably one of the most beneficial cosmetic surgeries for our Westlake Village, CA patients at Ethan Baughman Plastic Surgery. It may help improve the physical and emotional impact of breast cancer treatment while also allowing you to boost your figure and self-confidence. If you have breast cancer, have had an injury to the chest, or have a congenital defect that affects the shape of your breasts, we encourage you to contact our office in Westlake Village, CA to make an appointment with Dr. Ethan Baughman.