Breast reconstruction is the technique of rebuilding a breast after treatment for breast cancer or other condition where the breast has been removed. More than just a surgical treatment, breast reconstruction can restore a woman’s identity and confidence after fighting cancer.
There are many different types of breast reconstruction procedures- some involve the use of implants and tissue expanders, while others use the body’s own tissues to reconstruct a breast. Breast reconstruction can be performed at the same time as the cancer surgery, or at a later date if desired. The entire breast can be reconstructed, such as after a mastectomy, or parts of the breast can be reconstructed, such as after a lumpectomy. Before your appointment to discuss breast reconstruction with Dr. Hirsch in his Los Angeles office, feel free to browse the information about some common types of breast reconstruction surgeries that is available below.
- One stage implant breast reconstruction
- Two stage expander-implant breast reconstruction
- Latissimus flap breast reconstruction
- Free flap (DIEP flap) breast reconstruction
- Revision breast reconstruction
- Nipple and areola reconstruction
Frequently asked questions about breast reconstruction:
How do I know what type of reconstruction is the right one for me?
The different options for breast reconstruction can certainly seem overwhelming! Not all patients are candidates for all procedures, however. For example, patients who want to minimize their recovery time might be better off with an implant or expander-based reconstruction. Other patients who are looking for the softest, most natural type of reconstruction might prefer reconstruction with their own tissues. Dr. Hirsch takes an individualized approach towards treating each patient and will work with you to make sure that you select the right type of breast reconstruction for you and your lifestyle.
Is breast reconstruction covered by insurance?
Yes! The Women’s Health and Cancer Act of 1998 made it mandatory that breast reconstruction procedures after mastectomy as well as procedures on the other breast to make breasts more symmetric are covered by insurance. Dr. Hirsch and his team will work with you to verify that your breast reconstruction procedures are covered by your insurance carrier.
I had radiation therapy after my mastectomy and now I’m considering breast reconstruction. Am I a candidate for breast reconstruction?
Radiation therapy can cause significant damage to the skin of the chest wall. Depending on the condition of the chest wall skin, you might not be a candidate for certain types of breast reconstruction, but you are still a candidate for other types. Women who had had radiation therapy often feel tightness and discomfort in their chest wall skin and in some cases, breast reconstruction may improve these symptoms.
Will I be able to breastfeed after breast reconstruction?
Unfortunately, during the breast cancer treatment surgery, the breast tissue that produces breast milk is removed. Even though the breast reconstruction surgery recreates the shape of the breast, it does not rebuild the actual breast tissue so breast reconstruction will not give women the ability to breastfeed after their cancer surgery.
Additional resources about breast reconstruction
Feel free to browse the following links to learn more about breast reconstruction:
Breast augmentation and breast reductions are also offered at Hirsch Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, located in Los Angeles.