What is Breast Reconstruction?
Reconstruction surgery for the breasts is performed to restore one or both of the breasts to a normal size, shape, and appearance after a mastectomy or lumpectomy. It is also available to repair a breast damaged by a birth defect or trauma. New techniques in reconstructive surgery make it possible for breast cancer patients to feel whole again and have breasts that look natural after they have been removed. This surgery at our accredited OR in Cedar Park, TX may involve several procedures and various stages that can either be done at the same time as your cancer treatment or delayed until a later date. Central Texas plastic surgeon Dr. Staci Hix-Hernandez creates a personalized treatment plan with a compassionate approach as we help you restore your physical appearance and confidence at Beleza Surgery.
Breast Reconstruction Reviews
"Full breast reconstruction - I never imagined needing a plastic surgeon and consider myself extremely lucky to have found Dr Hix. I have had four separate surgeries with her now and am very pleased. All my questions get answered and I've never had a difficulty or disappointment with her work. Her staff is very efficient, professional, and caring. I leave their office smiling."- Anonymous / Vitals / Jul 24, 2015
What Can I Expect from My Breast Reconstruction?
Dr. Hix-Hernandez takes into consideration a variety of factors when determining the technique to use for breast reconstruction. A few of these factors include cancer diagnosis, when the reconstruction is performed, whether you will use implants or natural tissue, and if nipple-sparing or nipple reconstruction is a part of the treatment plan. In order to recreate the breast, you must have enough tissue to adequately cover the breast mound. Flap procedures accomplish this by using your own muscle, skin, and fat to build and cover the mound. The most frequent flap techniques are:
- TRAM Flap
This method takes skin, fat, and muscle from your abdomen to create the breast.
- DIEP Flap
The DIEP flap moves fat and skin from the abdomen to form the breast mound, then uses microsurgery to attach the blood vessels to the chest wall.
- Latissimus Dorsi Flap
Muscle, fat, and skin from your back are moved to the mastectomy site via a surgically created path and remain attached to the donor location, which keeps the original blood supply intact.
- PAP Flap
This method uses skin, fat, and muscle tissue from your inner thigh to reconstruct your breast(s).
- LTP Flap
The LTP flap may be used if there is not enough muscle, skin, and fat that can be taken from the abdominal area, taking tissue from the outer thigh.
- Composite Flap
Also called a composite stacked flap, this method combines flaps from different areas on your body to reconstruct the breast.
Surgical breast reconstruction is performed in several stages. During some phases (such as creating a flap, inserting an expander, or implant placement), general anesthesia is typically used. Some patients will need to stay overnight — this is based on the actual phase of treatment. Once the final stage is completed in the breast reconstruction process, you should wear a medical support bra and you may be prescribed medication by Dr. Hix-Hernandez to control bleeding, discomfort, and swelling. Over time, your breast(s) should look normal so you can feel more confident. Regular checks with breast exams and mammograms are critical and recommended for your ongoing health.
While flap procedures are a common and highly successful method used in breast reconstruction, you may want to rebuild your breast(s) with tissue expansion. This involves placing a tissue expander below the breast wall and then gradually filling it with a saline solution over the course of 4 – 6 months until the skin is properly stretched. After you choose the flap method or tissue expansion, you may then decide whether you would prefer to use a natural fat transfer or breast implants to create the volume and shape of the breast(s). After your reconstruction mammoplasty, you can further improve the appearance by having areola and nipple reconstruction. There are numerous techniques to restore the areola and nipple so that it appears natural.
Reclaim Your Self-Confidence
While the breast reconstruction process can be lengthy, it's considered one of the most worthwhile cosmetic surgeries for our patients at Beleza Surgery. It may help decrease the physical and emotional impact of a mastectomy while also allowing you to restore your figure and self-confidence. If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer, have had an injury to the chest, or were born with a defect that affects the appearance of your breasts, we encourage you to call one of our four Beleza Surgery locations in Cedar Park, Round Rock, Austin, or Killeen, TX, and schedule your consultation with board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Staci Hix-Hernandez.