Battling breast cancer can take a toll on a woman’s physical appearance and emotional well-being. Sometimes the breast(s) are completely removed during mastectomy, but breast reconstruction can be performed to restore all or part of the breast to its original appearance. La Jolla plastic surgeon, Dr. Larry Pollack, has performed more than 2,000 breast reconstruction procedures over the last 20 years. Through surgery, he can improve a woman’s self-confidence and provide natural-looking results.
Good candidates for breast reconstruction surgery are in good overall health and have realistic expectations of the surgery. Potential patients should have some or all of the following conditions:
- Will be undergoing lumpectomy or mastectomy, or have already had one of these procedures
- A body mass index (BMI) of 30 or less
- Not currently undergoing radiation therapy
Breast reconstruction is performed under general anesthesia on an inpatient or outpatient basis, depending on the technique to be used. Dr. Pollack offers a wide range of reconstruction options for patients in order to provide them with a method that will suit their reconstruction needs.
Tissue Expander/Implant Reconstruction
After the skin and muscle of the chest are expanded, an implant is placed in the breast area and filled with a sterile saline solution. During the next few treatments, the implant is gradually filled with more solution in order to expand the breast tissue even further. Once the desired breasts size is achieved, the expander is removed and a permanent implant is placed in the breast pocket.
Latissimus Dorsi Flap Reconstruction
Muscle, skin, and fat are taken from the patient’s back and relocated to the front of the chest to create a breast. If more volume is needed to match the symmetry of the opposite breast, an implant may be placed under the tissue.
TRAM Flap Reconstruction
This technique is performed using donor skin, muscle, and fat from the lower abdomen to reconstruct the breast. A tunnel may be created through the chest wall to keep the tissue attached to the original blood supply, or the tissue may be completely detached.
After the necessary steps are taken to reconstruct the breasts, the areolas and nipples will be reconstructed using the patient’s own skin.
When you meet with Dr. Pollack for your initial consultation, you will discuss your goals and concerns with him in detail, and he will customize the procedure to suit your needs. Although some patients get a breast reconstruction after their mastectomy is complete, an increasing number of people are choosing to undergo breast reconstruction during the mastectomy process.
RECOVERY, RISKS, AND RESULTS
Pain and discomfort may be present for the first few days after surgery, but pain medication will help relieve these symptoms. It may take a few weeks before patients feel well enough to return to work and their daily activities.
To ensure a proper recovery and reduce the risk of complications, such as bleeding and infection, patients should carefully follow Dr. Pollack’s postoperative instructions. Patients aretypically very satisfied with the results of their procedure and usually develop a new lease on life with their restored breasts.
The total cost of a breast reconstruction procedure depends on various factors, including the facility fee, anesthesia fee, and the extent of the reconstruction.
Generally, most insurance companies will cover some or all of the cost of surgery. However, to know exactly what will be paid for and to see if follow up treatments will be accounted for, it is best to contact your insurance holder to see what you qualify for.
We welcome you to schedule a consultation with our board certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Pollack, for all of your breast reconstruction needs. His keen knowledge and vast experience in performing this specific type of treatment enable him to provide each patient with a safe and effective breast reconstructive procedure. Please call (858) 215-6143 to schedule your consultation today