Breast reconstruction surgery marks the final phase of the recovery process following breast cancer treatment for many women. Even though they have undergone mastectomy treatment, they should know there are numerous reconstruction surgeries available to fully restore the look and feel of the breasts back to a natural state. Our New Orleans Breast Reconstruction specialists use various methods of breast reconstruction to build the breasts to a shape and size that women can be happy with. They commonly uses the Diep Flap technique, as well as the implant-based, lap dorsi, tram, and other effective methods. Thankfully, breast reconstruction is now a huge part of the recovery process, and the restoration discussion occurs early in the treatment phase. Breast reconstruction surgery is a tailored procedure that can allow a woman to feel beautiful and whole again.
Things to Consider
During your first consultation to discuss reconstruction surgery, it is important to disclose where you are in the treatment process and which cancer surgeon is treating you, as well as provide any necessary pathology reports. The reconstruction process may take place in multiple steps if the breast tissue needs to be stretched to make room for implants. This discovery phase will help guide the reconstruction process so patients end up with a new breast that is the size, shape and look they want.
Breast Reconstruction Reviews
"When you are diagnosed with breast cancer, you have a lot of decisions to make. Lumpectomy? Mastectomy? Reconstruction? Immediate or delayed? Implants? Silicone or Saline? Using my own tissue? It can be very overwhelming! Dr. Tandon is patient, compassionate, knowledgeable and most importantly, extremely skilled in performing a variety of reconstruction procedures. Being a nurse with past experience in caring for patients with breast cancer was somewhat advantageous in sorting out my treatment and reconstruction options. I am also uniquely aware that surgical skill varies among surgeons. After diligent research, and my consultation with Dr. Tandon, I felt completely at ease with my decisions and confident that I had chosen the right team to provide me with the best breast reconstruction possible. The type of reconstruction we ultimately chose required an incredible amount of specialized surgical skill. I underwent bilateral skin and nipple sparing mastectomies with DIEP flap reconstruction and I could not be more pleased with my cosmetic results. Dr. Tandon is that rare combination of highly skilled surgeon combined with a kind compassionate bedside manner. I am forever grateful!"- M.E. / Google / May 28, 2019
"I met with Dr. Tandon 4 days post a chemo treatment to discuss breast reconstruction options. I was not looking my best (bald, glass, bags under my eyes, and sweatpants) so I walked in feeling self conscious. Dr. Tandon was amazing. He took his time explaining everything and what he thought was best options for me. He made me feel confident and beautiful on a day I felt the worst. I cannot wait to see my results in a few months!"- K.L. / Google / Feb 09, 2020
"I came to Dr Tandon after chemo for a bilateral breast reconstruction. Afraid of what my future held, Dr Tandon and his staff addressed all my needs with confidence, compassion, and understanding. Cancer effects you physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. A year later, Dr Tandon and Staff gave me back my dignity, self esteem, and self love. To say THANK YOU, is not enough. He turned ugliness into beauty. I am FOREVER grateful"- E.L. / Google / Aug 26, 2020
"After reading others’ very positive reviews, I reached out to Jansen Plastic Surgery for the DIEP Flap surgery. It was the best decision I made throughout my journey following a cancer diagnosis. Dr. Jansen is talented, detail oriented, and kind. His clam demeanor was very reassuring in what was a very scary time for me. His team in the office is professional and just as caring. I am a year out from surgery without any complications doing all the activities I love. I couldn’t be more pleased with my results. Thank you Dr. Jansen!"- Anonymous / Healthgrades / May 20, 2021
"I had breast reconstruction due to breast cancer and Dr. Guste preformed my surgery. I could not be more happy with my results. Dr. Guste is a genuine kind and caring person. His bedside manner is calm, warm and welcoming. He is always smiling and genuinely happy. You rarely find a physician as down to earth, personable and easy going as Dr. Guste. He treats you as if you are his only patient. He is a perfectionist, and will deliver the best possible surgical outcomes. I am absolutely thrilled with my results so far. Also His Staff are so friendly, kind, nice and helpful. I highly recommend Dr. Guste for all of your cosmetic / plastic surgery needs."- Anonymous / Facebook / Jun 18, 2022
Each reconstruction technique will be tailored according to the patient’s physical health, aesthetic goals, and personal preferences. There are many factors playing into the approach that will be taken. The ultimate goal is to ensure the patient is healthy and happy with their final breast results.
There are two primary categories of breast reconstruction techniques:
- Procedures that involve using a breast implant
- Procedures that are autologous (use the patient’s own body’s tissue to reconstruct and recreate the breast)
Reconstruction With Implants
Breast reconstruction using silicone or saline implants is a common approach that generally starts with the use of a tissue expander to help form a suitable pocket for an implant. The expander may be inserted after the mastectomy procedure or during the same operative session. Over the course of several months, the expander will slowly be enlarged using a sterile solution injected through a port residing under the skin. During the scheduled reconstruction surgery, the expanders are removed and replaced with permanent implants.
If there is limited tissue inside the breast, or limited skin on the outside, tissue may be used from another part of the patient’s body to supplement this loss. The most common areas to support this process are the buttocks, thigh or abdomen. This is an autologous approach to breast reconstruction. The TRAM flap (Transverse Rectus Abdominus Myocutaneous), the DIEP flap and SIEA flap techniques involve taking skin and fat from the abdomen and relocating it to the breast. The Latissimus Dorsi Flap is another common method using tissue from the patient’s back.
During a mastectomy, the nipple and areola often cannot be saved. The loss of one’s nipple and areola can be as unnerving as the removal of the breast itself. However, reconstruction techniques have advanced greatly, allowing plastic surgeons the opportunity to recreate these areas of the breast to give a natural, aesthetically appealing appearance. In a separate procedure, the nipple is created using existing breast skin or from the abdominal or latissimus flap. Using a tattoo technique, the areola is recreated with a skin graft taken from the thigh, abdomen or back.
Breast reconstruction surgery is performed under general anesthesia at an accredited surgical facility. Some patients may be required to stay in the hospital to be monitored for complications. Patients who have had reconstruction using a flap technique will usually be required to stay in the hospital for 2-5 days. The recovery process can be somewhat lengthy, but many view it as the final step in their cancer journey thus the experience can be very rewarding. Most women are thankful to have had the opportunity to restore their breasts and are satisfied with their results.
Plan Your Procedure
Breast Reconstruction FAQs
This is a very specialized surgery that requires extensive knowledge, skill and experience. It is very important to research and find a qualified and reputable plastic surgeon who has experience with breast reconstruction surgery.
Can I Delay This Surgery?
In many situations, it is recommended to start the reconstruction process at the same time as the mastectomy. Therefore, it is a good idea to have your breast cancer surgeon and your plastic surgeon begin communicating about the steps that will follow. An advantage of doing the procedure immediately is waking up from your mastectomy surgery with the reconstruction process in place. The soft tissue that surrounds the breast will heal simultaneously with the reconstruction, which can enhance the final results.
A reconstructed breast will not have the same sensation as the breast did before the mastectomy. However, over time, some of this sensation will return to normal. This will depend on the extent of the reconstruction process and will vary by patient.