Breast reconstruction is a rewarding surgical procedure that uses special techniques to create a breast similar in form and appearance to a natural breast. Although breast reconstruction can be performed immediately after your mastectomy, you also can wait to have the procedure several weeks to years after mastectomy.
Dr. Yugueros is skilled at the latest breast reconstruction techniques to create a beautiful, natural-looking breast that is symmetrical to your other breast.
Dr. Yugueros is adept at breast reconstruction techniques to:
- Balance the size and shape of your breasts
- Restore the natural contours of your breast(s)
Breast reconstruction can be performed at any time after a partial or full mastectomy, but it is often performed immediately after the removal of a tumor — an approach that allows you to awaken from your mastectomy with a new breast! Many women find this approach preferable to waking to no breast.
If you are having surgery for cancer and reconstruction on one breast, Dr. Yugueros can perform breast reduction and/or lift surgery on the other breast to ensure that both breasts are balanced and symmetrical.
Before reconstruction surgery, Dr. Yugueros will discuss the type of mastectomy your surgeon is planning for you. If necessary, she also will consult with your primary care physician, oncologist, and medical team to ensure you get the best possible outcome.
Breast reconstruction has no known effect on the recurrence of breast cancer. It does not interfere with postoperative chemotherapy, radiation treatment, or the detection of future cancers.
Although it is not a simple procedure, breast reconstruction after partial or full mastectomy can dramatically improve your appearance, enhance your quality of life, and boost your self-esteem.
Most insurance plans cover all stages of breast reconstruction.
Who is a candidate for breast reconstruction?
Almost any woman who must lose a breast to cancer is a candidate for reconstructive breast surgery.
Your consultation for breast reconstruction will include a thorough discussion of your medical history, expectations, and concerns. Dr. Yugueros will give you a thorough physical examination. She will explain the surgical breast reconstruction options, including their advantages and disadvantages, with considerations for your age, height, weight, body shape, size and shape of your breasts, and your overall health. Dr. Yugueros also will tell you what you can expect before, during, and after your surgery. She will share before and after pictures with you so that you will understand the procedures and results.
The Procedures, Recovery, and Results
The most common breast reconstruction procedures are:
- Expander and implant reconstruction, with either saline or silicone implants
- Latissimus flap reconstruction
- TRAM flap reconstruction
- Bilateral reconstruction
- Partial mastectomy reconstruction
Each breast reconstruction technique involves different recoveries.
Expander and Implant Reconstruction
If you choose implant and expander breast reconstruction, Dr. Yugueros will insert a temporary saline-filled balloon expander under your chest muscle to gently stretch the muscle and skin. The procedure is usually completed immediately after your mastectomy and requires an overnight hospital stay. You are likely to have some drainage tubes after surgery to help minimize swelling.
Over several weeks or months, you will return to our office so that Dr. Yugueros can enlarge the size of the expander through a valve beneath your skin. After the skin over the breast area has stretched enough, Dr. Yugueros will remove the temporary expander and replace it with a permanent implant in a second outpatient surgery.
Most women who have expander and implant reconstruction return to their normal activities after several weeks.
TRAM and Latissimus Flap Reconstruction
If you choose flap reconstruction, Dr. Yugueros will use your own tissue from your abdomen or back to create a breast mound.
A transverse rectus abdominus muscle (TRAM) flap reconstruction uses tissue from the abdomen to create a new breast. The TRAM flap consists of skin, fat, and muscle attached to its blood supply from the abdomen that is tunneled beneath the skin to your chest to create a breast mound. The abdominal incision is then closed with a procedure similar to a tummy tuck. TRAM flap reconstruction usually eliminates the need for an implant.
A latissimus dorsi flap reconstruction uses tissue from the upper back to create a new breast. The latissimus dorsi flap technique uses skin, fat, muscle, and blood vessels that are tunneled under the skin from the back to the front of your chest to create a pocket for the implant. The procedure usually includes an implant.
Flap reconstruction usually takes longer than implant reconstruction because it takes more than one procedure to achieve the best results. The hospital stay and recovery after flap reconstruction will vary depending on your needs.
Bilateral breast reconstruction involves reconstructing both breasts to make them as symmetrical as possible. It usually involves a series of procedures over time and can include implants or flap reconstruction. The initial procedure for bilateral breast reconstruction is the most complex. The final stages are used to create a new nipple and areola.
Partial Mastectomy or Lumpectomy Reconstruction
After a partial mastectomy or lumpectomy, the best surgical options often include flap reconstruction, breast implants / breast augmentation, a breast lift, and/or a breast reduction. You might hear Dr. Yugueros refer to this approach as oncoplastic surgery. The benefit of the oncoplastic approach is that it allows Dr. Yugueros to evenly match the breasts as part of reconstruction. Like other breast reconstruction procedures, oncoplastic surgery is covered by insurance.
Although each type of breast reconstruction is accompanied with some swelling, bruising, and pain, Dr. Yugueros will give you a prescription to help you recover as comfortably as possible.
It takes several months before you can see the final outcome of your breast reconstruction surgery.
Why Choose Dr. Yugueros?
Dr. Yugueros is a board-certified plastic surgeon with extensive experience in the latest breast reconstruction techniques. If you are going to have or have already had a partial or full mastectomy, learn more about Dr. Yugueros’s surgical expertise, see her breast reconstruction before and after photos, and schedule your consultation today.
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11315 Johns Creek Parkway, Suite 440
Johns Creek, Georgia 30097