Everything You Need To Know About Breast Reconstruction

Gabrielle B. Davis, MD is a practicing Plastic Surgeon in Beverly Hills. Dr. Davis redefines aesthetic medicine by implementing her unique research background in tissue regeneration into her medical practice to reduce the effects of aging on the body. Dr. Davis’ mission is to create natural-appearing results implementing scientific principles of aging with the sound surgical technique. Her philosophy is that while aging is a normal process of life and scientifically we can not stop the process, we can definitely redefine the concept of “aging gracefully." Haute Beauty expert Dr. Gabrielle Davis explains the different options of breast reconstruction to improve the breast mound and contour.

breast reconstructionPhoto Credit: ShutterstockHB: What is breast reconstruction?

Breast Reconstruction refers to any breast procedure that is aimed at recreating the breast mound or improving contour for defects after a mastectomy or lumpectomy for cancer treatment, trauma, or congenital disorders. This also includes procedures on the contralateral breast to improve symmetry with the reconstructed breast such as a breast augmentation, breast lift, breast reduction, and fat grafting.

HB: What type of options are available for breast reconstruction?

Recreation of the breast mound can be achieved by placing a tissue expander/implant or by utilizing the patient’s natural tissue. Using the patient’s natural tissue is also referred to as “autologous” reconstruction and includes rotational and free flaps. Factors considered when selecting the most appropriate reconstruction option is body habitus, need for adjuvant treatment and patient preference.

HB: Will there be any feeling in reconstructed breasts?

After a mastectomy, breast and nipple sensation are usually lost. However, there are new techniques which involve nerve grafts and nerve transpositions with goals to reinnervate the nipple areolar complex. There has been varying rates of sensation after these techniques.

Dr. DavisPhoto Credit: ShutterstockHB: Is a nipple reconstruction commonly done as well? What does it entail?

Nipple reconstruction is a part of breast reconstruction and is commonly performed a couple of months after recreation of the breast mound. Local skin is typically rotated to create projection of the nipple. Medical tattooing is utilized to create pigmentation of the nipple areolar complex.

HB: Can breast reconstruction be done during cancer treatments?

Breast reconstruction can be performed at the time of cancer surgery, which is called “immediate” breast reconstruction. Breast reconstruction can also be performed at a later time which is termed “delayed” reconstruction. In most cases, patients opted for immediate breast reconstruction.

HB: What is recovery/aftercare like?

Recovery it dependent on the type of reconstruction selected. Patients tend to have a faster recovery with Tissue Expander/ Implant based reconstruction, however have to deal with long-term maintenance of the implant. Autologous reconstruction, particular with a free flap usually results in a longer recovery time, however long-term implant management is not a factor.