what is Breast Reconstruction?
Breast reconstruction or mastectomy reconstruction is a procedure that is performed to restore one or both of the breasts to a natural shape, size, and appearance following a mastectomy or lumpectomy. It's also used to restore the chest if it has been damaged by a birth defect or trauma. Board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Alex Mesbahi is fellowship trained in microvascular surgery and cancer reconstruction. He has helped countless women to regain a natural-looking figure so they can feel confident and beautiful. He understands the delicate nature of breast reconstruction and is dedicated to providing each of his patients with the attention and care they deserve. Reach out to Mesbahi Plastic Surgery in McLean, VA, Washington, D.C., or Beverly Hills, CA to schedule a private consultation with Dr. Mesbahi. He will be happy to sit down with you to discuss all of your treatment options.
Breast Reconstruction Reviews
"Dear Dr. Mesbahi: Although it has been over a year since my breast reconstruction surgery, and I have delayed until now to express my great appreciation, I want you to know that I could not be any better satisfied with your services. In addition, I appreciate your willingness to take on my circumstances, including a prior failure by a previous surgeon. Fortunately, your unique technical skills and dedication to delivery of the best possible service filled my unique needs and desires, including a resumption of wear skiing this past summer. In summary, I consider myself very fortunate to have been able to avail myself of your professional competence and dedicated care. As a consequence, my quality of life has been materially improved. Unfortunately, I can't find the words that would fully express my appreciation to you."- Anonymous / Office Visit / Nov 11, 2011
"He is amazing surgeon. He is smart , talented, expert and knowledgeable. I had my 2 stages breast reconstruction with him and he did an amazing work on me. I am highly recommended him and his assistant too. Gihan"- G.E. / Google / Mar 28, 2019
Who is a Candidate for breast reconstruction?
Breast reconstruction is a highly personalized procedure. Each patient will have a thorough consultation with Dr. Mesbahi so he can review their unique needs and aesthetic goals to create a custom treatment plan. If you are thinking about reconstruction, it is vital that you have realistic expectations. While Dr. Mesbahi strives to give you an attractive, natural appearance, your reconstructed breast(s) will not have the same look, feel, or sensation as your original breast(s). You should be cleared by your oncologist to have surgery and inform Dr. Mesbahi about any other medical conditions or concerns that you have. Your health and safety are of the utmost importance.
breast reconstruction Techniques
There are many techniques available today for breast reconstruction. There are also many factors that Dr. Mesbahi considers when determining the technique that will produce the best results. Some of these factors include your specific cancer diagnosis, reconstruction timing, whether you will use implants or natural tissue, and if nipple reconstruction or nipple-sparing 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 fat, muscle, and skin to create, cover, and build the breast. The most frequent flap techniques are:
- TRAM Flap
This technique takes skin, fat, and muscle from your stomach to rebuild the breast. The tissue selected to create the new breast can be removed from the abdomen or it may stay connected to the donor location, maintaining the original blood supply.
- DIEP Flap
Like a TRAM flap, a DIEP flap removes fat, skin, and blood vessels from the lower abdominal area, but it does not take the muscle. The DIEP (deep inferior epigastric perforator) flap removes skin and fat from the abdomen to create the new breast, then uses microsurgery to reattach the transferred blood vessels to the chest.
- Latissimus Dorsi Flap
This technique uses muscle, fat, and skin from your back. During this procedure, tissue is moved from the back to the mastectomy site through a surgically created tunnel so it remains attached to the donor location, which keeps the original blood supply in place.
- PAP Flap
Another flap alternative is the PAP (profunda artery perforator). This method takes skin, fat, and muscle tissue from your inner thigh to create your breast(s).
What to Expect
Surgical breast reconstruction is done in several stages. In some phases (such as creating a flap, inserting an expander, or implant placement), general anesthesia is often used. Some patients may require an overnight stay in the hospital, but this is based on the actual treatment phase. When the final stage has been completed, bandages will be applied to your incisions and a surgical bra will be placed to provide support and protection as you heal. A small drain tube may be placed under the skin to remove any excess fluid for the first few weeks. Bruising and swelling will be apparent for 1 – 2 weeks. Dr. Mesbahi will give you detailed post-surgical instructions to follow at home, which will be based on your unique needs and specific reconstruction surgery. Over time, the swelling and bruising will dissipate to reveal a natural appearance. Regular monitoring with mammograms and breast exams are critical and highly recommended for your ongoing health.
breast reconstruction FAQS
Does insurance cover my surgery?
The WHCRA (Women's Health and Cancer Rights Act) of 1998 requires insurance plans that cover mastectomies to cover reconstruction surgery as well. If you have health insurance, someone from Mesbahi Plastic Surgery will help explain your coverage. We will also assist you in acquiring the necessary information and paperwork to send to your insurance provider.
Which technique should I choose?
There is no single reconstruction technique that is right for every patient. The best reconstruction option for you will be based on your physical examination, medical condition, and your personal preferences. During your initial consultation, Dr. Mesbahi can explain the benefits and disadvantages of each option to help determine the best choice for your individual needs. Whether you choose implants or a flap for reconstruction, Dr. Mesbahi will do his best to make your results look natural.
What about nipple reconstruction?
Nipple and areola reconstruction is usually performed with cosmetic tattooing. If you are interested in this, you should talk to Dr. Mesbahi during your consultation. He will explain your options so you can decide if you want cosmetic tattooing of your nipple-areola complex to be included in your surgical plan.
Should I have reconstruction with my mastectomy or wait?
The timing of your breast reconstruction is dependent on many factors. Some patients decide to get their breast(s) reconstructed at the same time as their mastectomy while some patients prefer to wait. Dr. Mesbahi recommends you schedule an appointment for a consultation following your cancer diagnosis so you can begin thinking about your choices, including when you want to have reconstruction surgery. If you want to get reconstruction at the same time as your breast cancer treatment, Dr. Mesbahi will collaborate with your oncologist to plan your care.
Reclaim Your Self-Confidence
Although the breast reconstruction process can be lengthy, it is a fulfilling and rewarding step toward completing your journey to recovery from breast cancer or severe trauma. Thanks to Dr. Mesbahi's specialty training and expertise in performing breast reconstruction, countless women visit our office every year to undergo this life-transforming surgery. If you have breast cancer, have had an injury to the chest, or were born with a defect that affects the look of your breasts, we encourage you to call Mesbahi Plastic Surgery in McLean, VA, Washington, D.C., or Beverly Hills, CA to schedule an appointment.