What is Breast Reconstruction?
Breast reconstruction surgery is typically performed to restore one or both of your breasts to a normal appearance in shape and size after a lumpectomy or mastectomy or from a birth defect or other trauma. This surgery may involve multiple procedures and different stages that can either be done at the same time as your breast cancer treatment or delayed until the treatment is complete. Dallas, TX board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Kevin Hanz creates an individualized treatment plan and uses a compassionate approach as we help you and your cancer team to restore your confidence and physical appearance at Kevin R. Hanz, M.D. Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.
"Bodytite on abs and flanks - I've always hated my love handles, no matter how much I work out or diet even when I was young that's where weight would stay. Finally I decided to do something about it! After doing a ton of research I decided BodyTite was for me. Now about a year after my procedure I can say it was totally worth it. I was swollen for maybe 9-10 weeks because they did some liposuction too, but I could tell a difference right away & my best results seemed to show at about 6 months after my BodyTite."- R. / RealSelf / Feb 05, 2020
"My clients think I'm ten years younger than my age! - I have had amazing results using Dr Hanz. He is so down to earth and can relate to anyone. The results I received are unbelievable. My clients think I'm ten years younger than my age! The procedure is painless and I was back to work in no time!"- J. / RealSelf / May 21, 2020
"Botox done right! My husband and I tried Botox for the first time and Dr. Hanz was gentle and caring. He let us decide what we wanted and what we were comfortable with. There was no "you should get this, or you need this" - Dr. Hanz is the kind of doctor we all need. I will definitely be going back. Thanks Dr. Hanz!"- T.O. / Google / Dec 19, 2020
"After searching for the perfect doctor to give me my dream body for 3 years I finally found the doctor for me! I got liposuction and a Brazilian butt lift from Doctor Hanz and he absolutely exceeded my expectations. I could not be happier and I would absolutely recommend him to anyone! He did exactly what I asked for and then some. I was nervous about having a fake looking butt and he gave me the most perfect round athletic looking butt. I had a pooch and love handles for the longest time and they are completely gone! All the other doctors I met in the past didn't really seem like they cared, but Dr Hanz listened to me with patience and answered all of my questions thoroughly! I am so grateful I met him and chose him to give me the body I have been wanting for years. The procedure was not under anesthesia and I recovered so quickly. If I could give 100 stars I would!"- D.B. / Google / Oct 13, 2020
"I had lipo 360 with Dr. Hanz. I didn't experience any pain during thanks to the medications. After the procedure I was very sore, but I was back at work at 830a the next day. The soreness has lasted since, but has gotten better & hasn't restricted me from my day to day routine. I was able to shower 48 hours after my procedure so I was able to take the garment off. I knew I was going to be swollen, but even with the swelling I could see visible results. I cried happy tears because I couldn't believe it. The nurses & doctor have been more than amazing throughout this process by checking in & making sure I am doing well. I cannot wait to see my results week after week! **Update** It's been about 10 months since my first procedure. I had my 2nd procedure 2 weeks ago on a totally different area! Much easier recovery since it was just arms and not my entire midsection. Soreness, but nothing keeping me from my everyday routine. I was back at work the next day with this procedure as well. Fabulous procedure, amazing staff, & life-long results that have made me so much more confident."- H.H. / Google / Sep 30, 2020
Can I Get Breast Reconstruction?
Breast reconstruction is an extremely personalized surgery. You will have a thorough consultative appointment with Dr. Hanz to create a treatment plan from your concerns, needs, and goals. If you are thinking about reconstructive surgery, it's crucial that you understand realistic expectations. While Dr. Hanz strives to give you a natural appearance, your newly reconstructed breast(s) may not have the same sensations, feel, or look as your original breast(s). You should get approval from your oncology doctor to have surgery and tell Dr. Hanz regarding other conditions that may affect healing.
How Will You Perform My Breast Reconstruction?
There's a variety of surgical techniques available today for breast reconstruction. There are also many factors that Dr. Hanz considers when deciding on the technique that will give you your best results. A few of these factors include your specific cancer diagnosis, when the reconstruction is performed, whether you will use natural tissue or implants to reconstruct your breast(s), and if nipple reconstruction or nipple-sparing is a part of the process. In order to recreate the breast, there must be enough tissue to adequately cover the breast mound. Flap procedures accomplish this by using your own fat, muscle, and skin to build and cover the breast. The most common flap techniques are:
- TRAM Flap
This technique uses skin, fat, and muscle from your stomach to rebuild the breast. The tissue selected to build the new breast can be removed from the stomach or the tissue may stay connected to the donor location, maintaining the original blood supply. This is one of the most common techniques used.
- DIEP Flap
This technique removes skin, fat, and blood vessels from the lower abdominal area, but it does not take the muscle. The DIEP (deep inferior epigastric perforator) flap transfers skin and fat from the abdomen to build your 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 to rebuild the breast. During this procedure, tissue is moved from your back to the mastectomy site via a surgically created path so it stays attached to the donor location, which keeps the original blood supply intact.
- PAP Flap
Another flap alternative is the profunda artery perforator (PAP). This technique takes fat, muscle, and skin tissue from your inner thigh to build your breast(s).
- LTP Flap
Sometimes, there isn't enough muscle, skin, and fat that can be taken from the abdominal area to perform a TRAM Flap. In this case, the LTP flap technique may be performed, which uses tissue from your lateral thigh area.
- Composite Flap
Also called a composite stacked flap, this technique combines flaps from various areas on your body for breast reconstruction.
What Else Should I Consider Before My Breast Reconstruction?
Although flap procedures are a common and highly successful method used in breast reconstruction, you may be able to recreate your breast(s) with tissue expansion. This technique involves placing a tissue expander below the breast wall and then gradually filling it with saline over 4 – 6 months to stretch the skin naturally. After you choose the flap method or tissue expansion, you may then decide whether you would prefer to use a natural fat transfer or breast implants to create the shape and volume of the breast(s). After your breast reconstruction surgery, you may want to improve the appearance with nipple and areola reconstruction. There are several procedures to restore the nipple-areola complex so that it looks natural.
What Can I Expect After My Breast Reconstruction?
Breast reconstruction surgery is performed in several steps. In certain phases (like the flap creation, tissue expansion, or placing implants), general anesthesia is often used. Some patients may need an overnight stay, but this is based on the phase of treatment they are in. When the last stage has been completed for your breast reconstruction, you will wear a supportive bra and you may be prescribed medication by Dr. Hanz to control discomfort, bleeding, and swelling. Over time, the breast(s) should appear more normal so you can feel more comfortable. Regular checks with mammograms and breast exams are critical and recommended to check for new cancer growths.
Frequently Asked Questions about Breast Reconstruction
How much will my breast reconstruction surgery cost?
Breast reconstruction is a complex surgery so to get great results, you should concentrate on finding a board-certified surgeon with years of experience and training, like Dr. Hanz, over the lowest price. During your initial consultation, Dr. Hanz will take time to understand your needs and goals before creating your unique treatment plan. Once this is done, he can go over costs, options for payment, and low-interest medical financing.
Does insurance cover my surgery?
Enacted in 1998, the Women's Health and Cancer Rights Act (WHCRA) requires insurance policies that cover breast cancer surgery (mastectomy) to cover reconstruction surgery as well. If you have health insurance, a team member at Kevin R. Hanz, M.D. Aesthetic Plastic Surgery can review your policy and explain your benefits. We can also help you submit the needed information and paperwork to your insurance.
Which technique should I choose?
There is no single reconstruction technique that works for everyone. The best method for you will depend on your concerns, wants, and physique. In your initial consultation, Dr. Hanz will discuss your options, including both flaps and implants, so you can understand the benefits and challenges of each before you decide on your treatment plan. Whether you decide on a flap or implants, Dr. Hanz will do his best to make your results look natural.
What about nipple reconstruction?
Nipple and areola reconstruction are typically done with 3D cosmetic tattooing. If you are interested in having your nipple-areola complex tattooed onto your reconstructed breast(s), you should ask Dr. Hanz during your initial consultation. He will discuss your options so you can decide whether you want 3D tattooing of the nipple and areola to be included in your treatment plan.
Should I have reconstruction with my mastectomy or wait?
The timing of your breast reconstruction is based on several things. Some patients decide to get their breast(s) reconstructed along with their mastectomy while other patients prefer to defer reconstruction surgery. Dr. Hanz suggests you make an appointment for a consultation following a diagnosis of breast cancer so you can start thinking about your choices, including when you want to have reconstruction surgery. If you decide to get reconstruction at the same time as your mastectomy, Dr. Hanz can collaborate with your oncology team to plan your surgery.
Reclaim Your Self-Confidence
Breast reconstruction can be lengthy; however, it is considered one of the top beneficial procedures for our patients at Kevin R. Hanz, M.D. Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. It may help decrease the physical and emotional impact of breast cancer while also allowing you to boost your figure and self-confidence. If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer, have had an injury to the chest, or were born with a defect that affects the shape of your breasts, we encourage you to contact our Dallas, TX office and schedule an appointment.