Breast Reconstruction in Houston, TX

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About Breast Reconstruction

Reconstruction surgery for the breasts is performed to restore them to a normal appearance in size and shape after a mastectomy or lumpectomy. It is also available to reconstruct a breast damaged by trauma or a birth defect. Advances in breast reconstruction surgery make it possible for you to feel fully healed and attain natural-looking breasts even after they have been removed. At Ellsworth Plastic Surgery, this surgery may involve multiple procedures and various stages that can either be performed along with your cancer treatment or delayed until a later date. Houston, TX board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Warren Ellsworth IV creates a unique treatment plan and uses a compassionate approach as we work with you to restore your confidence and physical appearance.

What are the benefits of breast reconstruction?

A breast cancer diagnosis can be devastating, and treatments like mastectomy or lumpectomy can leave many women feeling less than complete. Breast reconstruction surgery can help restore your sense of self, improve your body image, and enhance your quality of life. Your breasts will look more natural, and you'll be able to choose from a variety of breast reconstruction options that produce gorgeous results. Dr. Ellsworth can outline these options in full during a consultation.

Ideal Candidates

Breast reconstruction is a very customized procedure. Every patient will have a thorough consultation with Dr. Ellsworth to decide on their treatment plan based on their needs, concerns, and suitable options. If you are thinking about reconstructive surgery, it is crucial that you have realistic expectations. While Dr. Ellsworth strives to create a natural appearance, your newly reconstructed breast(s) will not have the same look, feel, or sensation as your original breast(s). You should get clearance from your oncology doctor to have surgery and tell Dr. Ellsworth about any other conditions that could affect healing.

Surgical Technique

There are several techniques available today for breast reconstruction. There are also many factors that Dr. Ellsworth considers when determining the technique that will produce your best results. Some of these factors include cancer diagnosis, reconstruction timing, whether you will use natural tissue or implants, and if nipple-sparing or nipple reconstruction is a part of the process. In order to rebuild the breast, there must be enough tissue to adequately cover the breast mound. Flap methods accomplish this by using your own skin, muscle, and fat to create, cover, and build the mound. The most common flap techniques are:

  • TRAM Flap
    This method uses muscle, fat, and skin from your abdominal area to build 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.
  • DIEP Flap
    Like a TRAM flap, a DIEP flap takes fat, skin, and blood vessels from the lower stomach, but it doesn't take the muscle. The DIEP (deep inferior epigastric perforator) flap transfers fat and skin from the abdomen to create the breast mound, then uses microsurgery to attach the blood vessels to the chest. The unique benefit of the DIEP flap is the preservation of abdominal wall function, decreasing your risk of hernia after surgery.
  • 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 and remains attached to the donor location, which leaves the original blood supply intact. This also helps you gain a more natural feel and shape than with implants alone.

Additional Considerations

While flap procedures are usually successful and a common method used in breast reconstruction, you may be able to recreate your breast(s) 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. After a flap has been created or the skin is stretched through an expander, you can then decide whether you want to use a natural fat transfer or breast implants to create the volume and shape of the breast(s). After your breast reconstruction surgery, you may want to improve the appearance with nipple and areola reconstruction. There are numerous methods to restore the areola and nipple so that it looks more natural.

What to Expect

Breast reconstruction surgery is performed in various stages. During certain phases (such as creating a flap, inserting an expander, or placing implants), general anesthesia is typically used. Some patients will require an overnight stay — this is dependent on the phase of treatment. Once the final step has been completed in the breast reconstruction process, you will wear a supportive bra and you will be given medication by Dr. Ellsworth to minimize swelling, bleeding, and discomfort. Over time, the breast(s) will look normal so you can feel more confident. Ongoing monitoring with mammograms and breast exams are critical and recommended to check for new cancer growths.

Reclaim Your Self-Confidence

While the breast reconstruction process can be lengthy, it is considered one of the most worthwhile procedures for our Houston, TX patients at Ellsworth Plastic Surgery. It can help decrease the emotional and physical impact of a mastectomy while also allowing you to restore your self-confidence and figure. If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer, have had trauma to the chest, or were born with a defect that affects the look of your breasts, we invite you to call our Houston, TX office and schedule your consultation with Dr. Ellsworth.

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*Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary from person to person. Images may contain models.