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Breast Reconstruction


Is breast reconstruction covered by insurance?

Breast reconstruction following lumpectomy or mastectomy for breast cancer is covered by insurance. Surgery on the opposite breast is also covered if an implant or breast lift is needed for symmetry.

What are my options following mastectomy?

Options include use of a prosthesis (breast-shaped product) placed in the cup(s) of a bra, or immediate or delayed breast reconstruction. Immediate reconstruction takes place at the time of mastectomy surgery. In addition to your general/breast surgeon performing the mastectomy, a plastic surgeon would place a tissue expander under the remaining skin. Delayed reconstruction takes place at some time following mastecomy recovery, when the plastic surgeon would (most likely) make an incision along the mastectomy scar to allow for placement of the tissue expander. This is considered first stage reconstruction.

Breast reconstruction following lumpectomy is an option in select patients. A consultation with the surgeon will help determine if you are a candidate and what options are available for you.

What is a tissue expander?

A tissue expander is similar to a deflated breast implant. It is placed under the the skin, and filled with a saline (salt water) solution over a period of time, depending on the size that needs to be achieved. This allows for expansion of the skin to accommodate the size of the final implant(s) at the second stage reconstruction.

How can I determine if I should have saline or silicone imlants?

This is a personal choice. You should do some research prior to your consultation. The new silicone technology is FDA approved and safe. Your surgeon will discuss the options with you. There is a difference in shape options, and feel.

Are the breast implants placed behind or in front of the pectoralis muscle?

Where the breast implants will be placed depends on factors such as the amount of breast tissue present and the degree of stretched skin to achieve the most aesthetically pleasing result. Preferred placement is behind the pectoralis muscle.

How long does breast reconstruction surgery take?

Breast reconstruction is performed under general anesthesia in a hospital (or surgical center if it is a delayed reconstruction) and usually takes about one to two hours, depending on whether unitliateral or bilateral. After your surgery you will spend about one hour in recovery, where you will rest and be taken care of by nurses and an anesthesiologist until you go home. You will need a ride as you will not be allowed to drive until your surgeon clears you to do so.

Are there before and after photos of breast reconstruction surgeries available to view?

Mastectomy and breast reconstruction results are very individual. Your surgeon will work with you to achieve the best possible result.

When will my stitches be removed?

Stitches will be removed after one week of healing following breast reconstruction surgery.

How long will it take before the swelling disappears?

Most patients are comfortable with the look and feel of their breasts, following breast reconstruction surgery, after about four to six weeks. At this time most of the swelling has subsided and you start to see your final result.

When will I be able to return to work?

You should be able to return to non-strenuous work within one-two weeks.

Please contact us at our office if you have any further questions about our plastic and cosmetic surgery procedures.