About Breast Reconstruction
Breast reconstruction surgery is a procedure performed to restore one or both of the breasts to a normal size, shape, and appearance after a mastectomy or lumpectomy. It is also used to repair a breast damaged by trauma or a birth defect. Advances in breast reconstruction surgery make it possible for women to feel whole again and attain a natural looking breast even after they have been removed. This surgery generally involves several procedures and various stages that can either start at the beginning of cancer treatment or delayed until a later date. Houston, TX board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Edward Lee, creates a personalized treatment plan and uses a compassionate approach as he works with patients to restore their physical appearance and confidence.
Breast reconstruction is a very individualized procedure. If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer and are considering reconstruction, it is important that you are able to emotionally cope with treatment and have realistic expectations. While your newly reconstructed breast will take on a natural appearance, it will not have the same look, feel, or sensation as your original breast. However, they will still look beautiful. Having a positive outlook is something we discuss during your consultation. Your cancer treatment is the most important aspect of this process. In addition, you should be physically healthy and not have any other medical conditions that could impair healing.
"Dr. Lee is very personable! He is always very thoughtful and kind. If you are looking to get a procedure done, he will be able to kindly guide you through the process. Very seldom do you meet a doctor who is as considerate and relational as Dr. Lee!"- J.B. / Facebook / Mar 12, 2017
"Dr. Lee performed successful trigger thumb surgeries (right & left) for my daughter (7 yo). I was very nervous about my dtr needing surgery & kept delaying it until I found him. I sought 2nd opinions, but after meeting Dr. Lee in consultation, I knew he was the right surgeon. He explained every detail calmly & answered all my questions. He is knowledgeable & highly skilled. My dtr had no complications or infections; she recovered quickly. Today, she has perfectly working thumbs, hardly any scar!"- Anonymous / Healthgrades / Apr 17, 2018
"I went today for my first facial with Teta. A friend had referred me so I decided to see what it was all about. When I arrived I was greeted immediately by 3 friendly faces. They welcomed me in and offered me a beverage. So far so good! First class service! Shortly after I began my facial not knowing really what to expect. Teta was very knowledgeable and made me feel very comfortable. I left feeling rejuvenated and fresh faced! This was a great experience and I have already booked my next appointment! I feel good about my skin :) Thank you Teta and Nuveau for a first class experience from start to finish! I would definitely recommend!"- B.S. / Yelp / Apr 04, 2018
"Ok I don't even know where to start so I'll start with how caring and professional Dr Lee was from the first moment I met him, his office was amazingly clean and smelled so good and not to mention a beautiful office, his staff Eva, and I apologize for forgetting the other young ladies name but they were absolute sweethearts just being nice sometimes can go further than you could ever imagine, now getting back to Dr Lee, I was terrified about having my procedure, however I made my decision based on his education, reviews, and mostly his smile it was one of the most genuine smiles I'd seen unlike many doctors today they make you feel like NEXT I've got another right after this but Dr Lee actually wanted to take his time and Perfect his work he expressed it and definitely showed it, after I got home and finally removed the wrapping after 2 days(nervously) but as I kept unwrapping I was confused looking for scars I just knew I'd have racetracks all over that area and I cried real tears because I didn't find one ugly or nasty scar that man is amazing my life will never be the same I can't wait to go shopping and show off a little lol I'm gonna conclude here because there's so much more I could say but Dr Lee if you ever read this review I just wanna say God truly blessed you with an amazing gift and heart and with the utmost respect you are beautiful on the outside, it was one of my first thoughts but my last thought was how beautiful you are on the inside....(I have to get this out) PLEASE go and help those poor celebrities in Hollywood they really could use your services"- A.C. / Yelp / Feb 14, 2018
"Dr. Lee is very friendly and helpful. He takes time to work with you and always want you to have the best experience."- Anonymous / Healthgrades / Dec 30, 2017
Plan Your Procedure
There are many techniques available today for breast reconstruction. In addition, there are many factors to consider when making the decision as to which approach is best. Some of these factors include cancer diagnosis, reconstruction timing, whether the patient will use natural tissue or implants, and if nipple-sparing and nipple reconstruction is a part of the process. In order to rebuild the breast there must be enough tissue to adequately create the breast mound. Flap techniques accomplish this by using your own skin, muscle, and fat to create, cover, and build the mound. The most common flap techniques include:
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 abdomen, 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, tissue is moved from the back to the mastectomy site through a surgically created tunnel and remains attached to the donor location, which leaves the original blood supply intact.
Another flap alternative is the PAP flap (profunda artery perforator). This technique takes tissue taken from your inner thigh to reconstruct your breast.
While the TRAM flap tends to be one of the more common methods used during reconstruction, sometimes there is simply not enough tissue that can be taken from the abdomen. In these situations, the LTP flap can be used which takes tissue from the lateral thigh area.
Also known as composite stacked flap, this method combines flaps from various areas on your body to reconstruct the breast.
Flap procedures are very successful and common methods used today in breast reconstruction. Some women may not need to have a flap surgery and instead are conditions for reconstruction with tissue expansion. This involves placing a tissue expander under the breast wall and then slowly filling it with saline over the course of 4-6 months until the skin is properly stretched. Whether a flap has been created, or the skin stretched through an expander, you can then decide whether you want to use a natural fat transfer for breast volume, or use breast implants. The final stage of breast reconstruction is completed nipple and areola reconstruction. There are numerous methods to restore the nipple and areola so that it looks natural in appearance.
What to Expect
Breast reconstruction surgery is performed in various stages. During certain phases, such as creating a flap, inserting an expander or implants, general anesthesia is generally used. Some patients will require overnight stays, depending on the actual phase of treatment. One the final step has been completed in the breast reconstruction process, patients will wear a medical support bra and will be given medication to help control swelling, bleeding, and discomfort. Over time, some sensation will return, but overall, the breasts will look as normal as possible and allow you to feel whole again. Ongoing monitoring with mammograms and breast checks are essential and recommended for your ongoing health.
Reclaim your self-confidence
While the breast reconstruction process can be lengthy, it is one of the most worthwhile surgeries for our patients. It helps decrease the emotional and physical impact of mastectomy and allows you to reclaim your self-confidence and figure. If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer, or have one or both breasts that have been impacted by trauma, we invite you to call our office and schedule your consultation today.