Southcoast Health Breast Center – Breast Reconstruction
Breast reconstruction surgery is performed to restore one or both breasts to conventional size, shape, and appearance after a mastectomy (including skin or nipple sparing procedure) or lumpectomy.
New techniques in breast reconstruction surgery make it possible for you to feel whole again and obtain natural-looking breasts even after being removed. This surgery generally involves several procedures and various stages that can either be performed at the beginning of your cancer treatment or delayed until a later date.
Plastic surgeon Dr. Caroline Plamondon creates a personalized treatment plan and uses a compassionate approach as we work with you to restore your physical appearance and confidence.
An Individualized Process
Breast reconstruction is a very individualized procedure. Patients will have a thorough consultation with Dr. Plamondon to determine their treatment plan based on their needs, concerns, and available options. If you are considering reconstruction, it is important that you have realistic expectations. While Dr. Plamondon strives to create a natural appearance, your newly reconstructed breast(s) will not have the same look, sensations, or feel like your original breast(s). You should be cleared by your oncology doctor to have surgery and tell Dr. Plamondon about any other medical conditions that could impair healing. (statement about patients who smoke)
Breast reconstruction with the use of tissue expansion and implant placement. Reconstruction with tissue expansion allows for a more comfortable/faster recovery than flap procedures. This involves placing a tissue expander under the breast wall as the first step and then slowly filling it with saline over 3 – 4 months until the skin is properly stretched. (process may be delayed if chemo/radiation is necessary) The process of slowly filling the device is an easy and quick in-office procedure. After the skin is stretched through an expander, stage two introduces breast implants to create the breast’s volume and shape(s). During stage three, you may want to improve the appearance with nipple and areola reconstruction. There are numerous options to restore the nipple and areola to look natural, including micropigmentation and/or surgical techniques.
The Flap technique utilizes your muscle, fat, and skin to create, cover, and rebuild the breast (mound). The most common flap techniques are:
This method uses muscle, skin, and fat from your abdomen to rebuild the breast. The tissue used to create the new breast can be detached from the stomach, or it may remain attached to the donor location, keeping the original blood supply.
Latissimus Dorsi Flap
This method uses muscle, skin, and fat from your back. During this procedure, the tissue is moved from the back to the mastectomy site through a surgically created tunnel. It remains attached to the donor location, which leaves the original blood supply intact.
What to Expect from Breast Reconstruction Surgery
Breast reconstruction surgery is performed in various stages. General anesthesia may be used during certain phases (such as creating a flap, inserting an expander, or placing implants). Some patients will require an overnight stay — this is dependent on the actual phase of treatment. Once the final step has been completed in the breast reconstruction process, you will wear a medical support bra. You will be given medication by Dr. Plamondon to help control bleeding, swelling, and discomfort. Over time, the breast(s) will look normal so you can feel more confident. Ongoing monitoring with mammograms/ultrasound to verify integrity of implants (if implants have been used) and breast exams are essential and recommended for your ongoing health. Follow-up care is provided on specific basis)
Insurance and Payment
The Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act (WHCRA) of 1998 requires insurance plans covering mastectomies to cover breast reconstruction surgery. This includes procedures that may be needed overtime to refine the reconstructed breast and/or create symmetry (balance) between the two breasts.
At the Southcoast Health Breast Surgery Center, we accept most major insurance plans. You may need a referral from your general physician for our services, as plans vary; our office manager can advise you.
For questions regarding your copay responsibilities, co-insurance obligations, and overall coverage, please contact a representative at your insurance company. As a friendly reminder, payment is expected at the time of service, and you’ll need to provide one form of identification and your insurance card at your appointment.
Reclaim Your Self-Confidence
While the breast reconstruction process can be lengthy, it is considered one of the most worthwhile surgeries for our Fall River, Dartmouth, Wareham, and RI patients. It can help decrease the emotional and physical impact of a mastectomy while also allowing you to reclaim your self-confidence and figure. If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer, we invite you to call (508-973-1021) and schedule your consultation with Dr. Plamondon.
The Southcoast Breast Center is a reliable resource for women with breast cancer, offering reconstructive breast surgery and much more to patients in Fall River, Dartmouth, MA, and surrounding areas. (practicing in Dartmouth/Fall River, accepting Wareham patients)