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
"I just happen to run across Dr. Lee on the internet searching for a Dr. to do a breast augmentation and possible tummy tuck. Had never even considered having this before and was very nervous. Went to one other consultation with another Dr. in the Houston area and found out he was actually only a dermatologist and wasn’t board certified in plastic surgery. I decided to get another quote and I am so glad that I did. Even though I lost $500 dollars that I had put down with t...he first Dr.. i let Dr. Lee know what it was that I was looking for and he let me know right away what I needed. He could have charged me more and even could have said that I needed more than what I did but he did not. He did not have to do a lift on me for my breast and he did not have to do lipo in me either and in both cases he could have told me I needed this and I would not have known the difference - but he didn’t. I was impressed with the fact that he has been doing this for only 7 years would be up to date on the procedures and possible new ways of doing these procedures rather than a dr that had been doing this for 20 plus years. Dr. Lee was worried due to the fact that I was a smoker. He almost seemed as if he may not even be interested in doing my surgery due to this fact. That was even impressive. He could have cared less and just seen dollar signs but he didn’t. I let him know I was super serious about this and would stop immediately if he would get me right in to do surgery so that I wouldn’t change my mind like I had in the past due to other obligations. He told me I would have to wait 6 weeks and the. He could do the surgery if I stopped smoking then. I promised. He kept his part of the bargain and so did I. I am proud to say that I have now had surgery almost 2 weeks ago and still haven’t smoked. Won’t go back. Thanks to Dr. Lee and Mrs. Eva I won’t go back to smoking. My surgery went flawlessly and the results are amazing. The Dr. knew exactly what I needed and did a perfect job. He eased all of my fears and it went way better than what I expected. Would recommend Dr. Lee to anyone wanting to enhance their looks. They offer a lot of different services and I would let them do any of them on me if I needed. Now Mrs Eva if the Drs right hand in my opinion. She was amazing and could have ignored me because god knows I ask her every question under the sun regarding my procedures and she handled me with nothing but respect. When she didn’t have too. I love her to pieces and she makes you feel so comfortable during the entire process."- M.S. / Facebook / Mar 22, 2020
"10 days post “mommy makeover” and have to write a review because of how smooth the process was and how wonderful Dr. Lee is. Great bedside manner and superb skill level. You can tell he takes pride in his work and strives to get his patients the best possible outcome. Recovery process has been smooth thankfully. I was back to work 1 week post surgery. Also, Dr. Lee really listens to your concerns and works with you as a team. He even called me over Christmas to review a post op concern I had emailed him about. Eva in the office is also wonderful. Highest recommendations!"- D. / Google / Dec 28, 2019
"Dr.Lee is highly skilled and takes very good care of his patients during and post operation. I highly recommend Dr. Lee!"- C.K. / Google / Nov 04, 2019
"Very welcoming place."- J.S. / Google / Sep 04, 2019
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.