Cosmetic Surgery Procedures

Breast Reconstruction

Breast Reconstruction

Women’s bodies — breasts in particular — come in all shapes and sizes. It’s easy to say that every woman is beautiful, but the pressures of popular culture and society make it harder for every woman to believe this about herself. Breasts play an important role in this popular image of a “beautiful” woman and are also a crucial part of society’s perceptions of femininity, motherhood and sexuality. As a woman, having breasts that don’t fit society’s image of beauty can be damaging enough to your self-confidence. And, losing one or both of your breasts to cancer or other causes may bring about even more of an internal struggle to love yourself and your body.

If you have received a breast cancer diagnosis and your doctors believe you will need to have a mastectomy, you might be feeling a range of intense emotions — worry, sadness, confusion and more. But on the other side of your breast removal surgery, there is a long and cancer-free life awaiting you. You don’t need to let your diagnosis control the way you feel about yourself, and if restoring the shape of your breasts is important to you, a breast reconstruction surgery might be an option.

Breast reconstruction, sometimes called corrective breast surgery or corrective breast augmentation, is a procedure that rebuilds the breast mound following the removal or loss of a breast due to cancer, illness or other causes. The breast shape can be restored using an implant like those used during cosmetic breast augmentations, or breasts can be rebuilt with your own body tissues taken from other areas of your body. There are pros and cons to both methods — we will describe each procedure briefly below, but you will need to schedule an in-person consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon to learn more.

To learn more about breast reconstruction in the El Paso, Texas, area reach out to the Cosmetic Surgery and Laser Centers of El Paso today. Schedule your first appointment with our expert plastic surgeons — we would be thrilled and humbled to help you begin your journey back to self-confidence and strength.

Who is the Ideal Breast Reconstruction Patient?

Breast reconstruction is intended for women who have lost one or both of their breasts as a result of cancer, other illness or injury. Breast reconstruction can be performed on a single breast, on both breasts or on part of a breast (e.g., after a lumpectomy). The ideal breast reconstruction client is in good enough health to undergo surgery and has carefully considered the benefits and risks of the surgery. We always want to make sure that our patients are choosing to have reconstruction for the right reasons — to meet their personal aesthetic goals, to help them feel better about their own body and to restore their confidence after an illness.

Besides these general considerations, breast reconstruction is a highly customizable and flexible procedure. There are options available for women who still need to undergo radiation therapy, for women who want to achieve breasts of a certain shape or size and for women who want to undergo mastectomy and reconstruction simultaneously. During your consultation, you will be able to discuss all the specifics with your surgeon and create a personalized surgical plan that accounts for all of your specific concerns and goals.

What to Expect During Your Breast Reconstruction Surgery

It is difficult to predict what a breast reconstruction surgery will be like since each reconstruction surgery is so specific to the patient. In general, however, there are two types of breast reconstruction that you might undergo: autologous tissue reconstruction, which uses your own body tissues to reconstruct the breast mound; or tissue expander reconstruction, which uses breast implants to restore volume to the area. Your surgeon will use different techniques depending on which type of reconstruction is appropriate for your needs.

Tissue Flap Reconstruction

Autologous tissue or “flap” reconstruction surgery begins with your surgeon taking a portion of body tissues — fat, skin and muscle — from a donor site on your body and moving it to the breast area. The donated tissues are then placed beneath the surface of the chest wall to rebuild the volume and shape of a natural breast.

Many women who are interested in reconstructing their breasts are not looking for dramatic results; they simply want to have breasts that make their body feel like their own again. For these women, using their own body tissues to reconstruct their breasts might be the right choice — using fat, skin and muscle from your own body to rebuild your breasts means that your new breasts will look and feel very natural. Some of the benefits of autologous tissue reconstruction include:

  • Breast size fluctuates with the rest of your body if you gain or lose weight
  • Breasts will age naturally
  • No need to keep track of or maintain implants
  • Breasts look and feel like natural breasts because they are made from similar tissues
  • No risks associated with continuing radiation therapy after flap reconstruction

Although these benefits can make tissue flap reconstruction seem like the obvious choice, there are some drawbacks. For one, the tissues used to create your new breast or breasts have to come from somewhere else on your body — usually the abdomen or shoulder blade. If you do not have enough body fat in the donor sites, you won’t be able to choose this option. Using natural body tissues also comes with the risk of some level of resorption following surgery. This means that your breasts may become smaller than predicted over the months after your procedure, as some of the fat or other tissues are absorbed back into the body. Additionally, the extra surgical step of removing tissues from one area before they are placed in the breast region means that recovery can take quite a bit longer compared to reconstruction using implants. Typically, recovery from autologous tissue reconstruction requires a few days’ stay at your surgical center and up to eight weeks away from work and strenuous activities.

Reconstruction with Implants

Breast reconstruction with implants is a multi-step process that begins with a surgery to place a specialized expander implant into your breast area. Over the course of several weeks, the expander implant is slowly enlarged until it reaches the desired size of your new breasts — this process is non-surgical and is accomplished using a valve in the expander implant. Then, a second surgery is used to place the permanent implant into the space created by the expander, restoring shape and volume to your breasts.

Expander reconstruction or implant reconstruction offers predictable, consistent results that are delivered with simpler procedures and fewer limitations. This method of breast reconstruction is time-tested; it is safe, it provides long-lasting outcomes and allows women to have more control over how their breasts look once they are healed. Some benefits of expander reconstruction include:

  • Shorter recovery time due to less invasive procedure
  • Lower risk of complications due to easier surgery
  • Customizable, predictable results — choose your implant shape and size without worry of resorption
  • Results can be very natural using new techniques and implant styles
  • Breasts will maintain shape and size for many years

If the idea of breast implants worries you, you will be relieved to know that there are many different shapes, sizes and types of implants available. Your breasts do not need to look “fake” or “overdone” simply because you are using implants to restore breast volume. Your surgeon can work closely with you to determine what you want your breasts to look and feel like, and will be able to recommend implants that meet your needs.

Recovery from breast reconstruction with implants is also much simpler. While it does require two separate surgeries, the recovery time from each of these is only a week or two. You also have a lower risk of complications since you only have one surgical site that needs to heal, rather than your breast area and your donor site area.

A Personalized Approach to Breast Reconstruction in El Paso

Breast reconstruction is one of the most rewarding surgical procedures we perform, and not only for cosmetic reasons. The team at Cosmetic Surgery and Laser Centers of El Paso is proud to be able to help women who have survived cancer or have lost their breasts to other causes. We lead the way in state-of-the-art breast reconstruction surgery in the area and enjoy getting to know our clients so we can address their specific needs and desires. Our board-certified plastic surgeons, Dr. Reynolds and Dr. Jabor, are pioneers in the field of cosmetic surgery. We use cutting-edge technologies to create, map out and perform a corrective breast augmentation plan that is best for your body.

The doctors and their knowledgeable staff are always available to answer your questions or concerns regarding the corrective breast surgery procedure. For details, we invite you to schedule a corrective breast augmentation consultation at one of our two locations in El Paso, Texas. Contact our East El Paso location at 915-855-7800, or our West El Paso office at 915-543-5600 to get started.

Related Photos

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