Best Surgeons For Breast Reconstruction In Miami
What Is A Breast Reconstruction?
Breast reconstruction is a cosmetic surgical procedure performed on women to rebuild the breast’s shape after undergoing a mastectomy. Reconstruction of a breast that has been removed due to cancer or other disease is one of the most rewarding surgical procedures available today. New medical techniques and devices have made it possible for surgeons to create a breast that can come close in form and appearing to matching a natural breast. Frequently, reconstruction is possible immediately following breast removal (mastectomy), so the patient wakes up with a breast mound already in place, having been spared the experience of seeing herself with no breast at all. But bear in mind, post-mastectomy breast reconstruction is not a simple procedure. There are often many options to consider as you and your doctor explore what’s best for you.
About Breast Reconstruction
Breast Reconstruction can be done at the time of your mastectomy or at any time period after your mastectomy and treatment. There are many methods to breast reconstruction dependent on your needs, desires, and body type.
- Autologous Reconstruction (From your own body)
- TRAM (Transverse Rectus Abdominal Muscle Flap)
- This reconstruction method uses the abdominal tissue to reconstruct the breast. It is similar to an abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) except that the tissue that is normally discarded can be used for the breast reconstruction. The benefit of this reconstruction method is that no implant is needed and the patient often has the benefit of removing unwanted abdominal skin and fat.
- DIEP (Deep Inferior Epigastric Perforator Flap)
- Is similar to the above TRAM reconstruction except that only skin and fat are taken from the abdomen. No muscle is taken from the abdomen.
- SIEP (Superficial Inferior Epigastric Perforator Flap)
- Is similar to the above TRAM reconstruction except that only skin and fat are taken from the abdomen. No muscle is taken from the abdomen
- Latissimus Muscle Flap
- This reconstruction uses natural tissue from the back area to reconstruct the breast. An implant may or may not be used dependent on the desired size of the breast after reconstruction.
- Tissue Expander and Implant Reconstruction
- tissue expander (inflatable breast implant) is placed and your surgeon can use this to achieve the desired shape of your breast
- Once you have reached your desired shape with a tissue expander the expander will be replaced with a breast implant (the same implants that are used in breast augmentation).
- Some patients also benefit from the use of Alloderm, which can help shape the breast and decrease the time needed to expand the breast to the desired shape.
- Fat Grafting
- Is another tool that can be used to help shape the reconstructed breast. It can be used after flap or implant reconstruction for more natural and soft shape of the breast.
- TRAM (Transverse Rectus Abdominal Muscle Flap)
How Long is the Reconstruction Process?
Every breast reconstruction case is unique. When you consult with your surgeon at Miami Plastic Surgery®, you'll engage in a comprehensive, intentional conversation about your medical history, current treatments, future treatments, and desired outcome. Your reconstruction treatment timeline will be based on these factors as well as the plastic surgery technique that is best suited to them. It may take just one procedure to complete your reconstruction or it may take a few procedures performed over six to 12 months. A general guideline for breast reconstruction may include treatment to create space for the reconstructed breast, the reconstruction process using fat, grafts, or implants, and the addition of the nipple and areola as a final step. In between each step, there may be a few months of healing time. The timeline for reconstruction may also be affected by chemotherapy or radiation and minor adjustments to refine the appearance of your breasts.
How Long Can You Delay Breast Reconstruction?
Many women choose to delay breast reconstruction after their mastectomy or lumpectomy. In some cases, holding off might be recommended by your doctor if cancer treatment is ongoing. Fortunately, you can take as much time as you need to make this decision.
Whether you wait ten months or ten years after your breast cancer treatment, there’s no reason putting off reconstruction would affect your candidacy for the procedure. At Miami Plastic Surgery®, we often perform reconstructions for women who have been in complete remission for years. As long as you’ve gotten the okay from your doctor, delaying your reconstruction should not affect the outcome of the procedure.
What are the Risks Associated with Breast Reconstruction?
Surgical risks are present with all procedures. Based on your treatment process, your doctor will discuss risks that pertain to you. In general, the risks associated with breast reconstruction include:
- Post-operative bleeding or pain
- Poor scar formation
- Changes in skin sensation
- An accumulation of blood or fluid in the surgical site
- Implant failure
- Poor flap healing
Your experienced plastic surgeon has ways to mitigate risks and manage them if they do occur. Please feel free to bring your questions about surgical and post-operative risks to us at any time!
Do I Have to Have Breast Reconstruction?
You are under no obligation to anyone but yourself as you navigate how you want to proceed after your breast cancer treatment. There is no rush to make up your mind about having breast reconstruction. While it's possible to begin the process at the time of breast cancer surgery, this is not mandatory. You may wait a few months or a few years to seek reconstruction, or you may choose to never do so. Wearing a prosthesis is an alternative to surgical treatment, and so is simply living with your shape as it is after breast cancer. We're not concerned with convincing you to undergo surgery. Our primary goal is to empower you to feel your best as you move into a long, cancer-free life.
Will My Breasts Look Natural After My Reconstruction Treatment?
One of the potential risks of breast reconstruction is that the natural breast and the reconstructed breast don't match. Your plastic surgeon plans your treatment with the goal of creating optimal symmetry and overall appeal. To achieve this, it may be necessary to operate on the natural breast, as well. This may involve uni-lateral breast augmentation, breast reduction, or a breast lift. Our surgeons have considerable experience performing breast procedures. During your consultation, you can discover the many ways in which your doctor will work to attain the very best cosmetic outcome for you.
Is It Worth Having a Breast Reconstruction?
There isn’t a right or wrong choice when it comes to breast reconstruction. Some women prefer to forego the procedure and proudly “go flat.” Others would rather regain the shape they had before breast cancer. Ultimately the best choice is the one that helps you move forward and enjoy your life.
If you think breast reconstruction is the right option for you, there are several benefits to this procedure, including:
- Avoiding heavy or uncomfortable prosthetics
- Getting rid of reminders of your breast cancer experience
- Feeling more confident in clothing or swimwear
- Improving symmetry if only one breast is affected
- Restoring a connection to your body to feel like you again
Does Insurance Cover Breast Reconstruction?
Since 1998, the Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act (WHCRA) has required most insurance plans that cover mastectomies to also cover breast reconstruction. The Affordable Care Act offers additional protections for pre-existing conditions.
Under the WHCRA, insurance must cover the reconstruction of breasts removed by mastectomy, surgery to make breasts look symmetrical after a unilateral mastectomy, external prostheses, and any physical complications from surgeries. We can discuss payment options, including financing, during your initial consultation.
How Do Breasts Feel After Reconstruction?
Immediately after breast reconstruction, you’ll likely experience twinges of tightness or pain, numbness, or soreness. These feelings can come and go and generally decrease after the first few months as your nerves heal. Scar tissue around your surgical site might also feel firmer than the surrounding area.
When you’re looking into Miami plastic surgeons for breast reconstruction, choosing someone board-certified like the skilled providers on our team can ensure your healing process is as comfortable as possible. Once you’re fully recovered, you can expect to have limited sensation in your breasts. Flap surgeries can sometimes provide slightly more sensitivity.
Am I An Appropriate Candidate For Breast Reconstruction?
Most mastectomy patients are medically appropriate for reconstruction, many at the same time that the breast is removed. The best candidates, however, are women whose cancer, as far as can be determined, seems to be eliminated by mastectomy.
What Can I Expect During A Breast Reconstruction Consultation?
During your initial consultation, you will meet with the plastic surgeon and staff. Your previous surgeries, your medical history, medications you are presently taking, and your overall physical and emotional health will be reviewed. Your skin quality will also be evaluated. Photographs may be taken for your medical record. Your surgeon will determine what you benefit from most and whether or not additional procedures will be necessary for you to achieve your desired results. Recovery time, risks and limitations associated with surgery will be also be discussed. The doctor’s patient coordinator will review surgical costs and scheduling with you.
Patient Financing options are available at Miami Plastic Surgery® and can be discussed in more detail during your consultation.
If you are considering breast reconstruction in Miami, FL with the board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Polo at Miami Plastic Surgery®, call 305.595.2969 or fill out the form on this page to book a consultation.