About Breast Reconstruction
Breast reconstruction surgery can be performed to restore one or both of the breasts to an attractive size, shape, and appearance following a lumpectomy or mastectomy. This life-enhancing procedure can also be performed to repair the chest if your breasts have been damaged by a birth defect or trauma. Advanced techniques and tools in reconstructive surgery make it easier for breast cancer patients to feel whole again and have breasts that look natural, even after cancer removal or injury. This surgery generally involves several procedures performed in different stages that could begin immediately after your breast cancer treatment or whenever you feel comfortable. Board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Steve Laverson will craft a personalized surgical plan suited to meet your unique needs. At San Diego Cosmetic Clinic, Dr. Laverson loves working with cancer survivors and their oncology teams to restore their physical appearance and confidence. If breast reconstruction surgery could be what you need to regain your sense of femininity, contact our San Diego, CA office and schedule a consultation.
"Best people, best surgeon! And he’s a REAL, board certified, residency-trained plastic surgeon. Go to someone you can trust, like Dr Laverson! Sensitive to patient needs, kind, extremely knowledgeable & professional who wants the best, most natural results for all his patients."- S.B. / Google / Sep 14, 2019
"I must start by saying that I very rarely write reviews. But I recently recalled my experience with Dr. Laverson, and felt compelled to leave a long-overdue review that he truly earned. My situation was also quite different from most of his typical work, so I hope this also attests to his wide-ranging surgical skill. A couple of years ago I was involved in a bad motorcycle accident and wound up at Palomar Hospital. According to my family, doctors, and nurses, my face was pretty much smashed to bits and looked extremely gruesome. Some parts of my face were even missing. Anyway, Dr. Laverson was the on-call plastic surgeon that night. Once the E.R. doctors had gotten me stable, he had the impossible task of trying to fix my Freddy Krueger face by looking at an old picture of me on my fiance’s cell phone. Or at least it should’ve been impossible based on how bad my condition was...Fast forward a day or two, after my swelling from the surgery had gone down in order to see the results, my family and some coworkers came in to see. NONE of them could tell a difference from before the accident, including the coworkers who hadn’t seen my smashed face. Somehow, some way, Dr. Laverson was able to use plates, grafts, and whatever other tools and tricks in his brilliant surgical mind to make me look IDENTICAL to how I looked before splattering multiple pieces of my face on the side of a road. Shortly after my family, friends, and coworkers visited, Dr. Laverson himself visited as well to observe the post-swelling results, see how I was feeling, and to follow up on all the medical stuff he knew to look out for. He even asked my family and I if there was anything out of place, or changes we’d like to make, since he was happy to do another surgery to get everything exactly right. Because everything was already perfect I didn’t do another surgery, but his offer, his following up with me, and his sincere concern for my well being was absolutely amazing.There is only one last detail I want to mention, but it speaks volumes for Dr. Laverson’s outstanding character and genuine desire to help people feel beautiful and be happy with their looks. Since this was in the emergency room at the hospital, not only was it different than his usual surgeries by its type and difficulty, but the emergency was also paid for by my medical insurance. In the medical profession, this often means a significant pay-cut for the doctor from what they would normally charge. I don’t know if my surgery wound up being one of those times for Dr. Laverson, but I do know that he did a spectacular job given my horrendous condition, all while cancelling his Friday evening plans, and likely earning less than usual as well. I hope this review helps prove to potential customers that Dr. Laverson is a caring and outstandingly skilled surgeon, and to put anyone’s mind at ease that may be nervous or unsure about plastic surgery. And lastly, Dr. Laverson, I want to personally thank you for everything outlined above. I know there is no way I can ever really reciprocate what you did for me, but I hope this review can at least help show people and spread the word that you are an absolutely amazing person and professional."- D.S. / Google / Jun 11, 2019
"Dr. Laverson is incredibly thorough and passionate about his work. He answered all of my questions prior to my breast augmentation and tummy tuck. Following my procedure, Dr. Laverson went above and beyond during my follow up appointment to ensure I get the best results. Office staff is very welcoming, and they even called to check up on me after my procedure. I feel like a new woman, and I’m more confident than I have ever been. I recommend Feel Beautiful to anyone considering having an aesthetic procedure."- J.C. / Google / Mar 17, 2019
"I recently visited Dr Laverson for my Botox injections. His office is absolutely stunning! He was very thorough in explaining his methods and the procedure. We discussed what look I wanted and decided what areas to focus on. He did a perfect job! I definitely “feel beautiful” ! I can’t wait to see future results and try other procedures. Thank you!!"- T.N. / Facebook / Feb 25, 2019
"Dr Laverson is an amazing surgeon. I had such a wonderful experience and I am so grateful I found him. The staff is professional and the customer service is the best EVER. I highly recommend Feel Beautiful to anyone looking for the best plastic surgeon in San Diego and an amazing staff. Thank you guys!"- M.J. / Google / Feb 17, 2019
Reconstruction of the breast(s) is an extremely personalized surgery. Each patient will be required to have an in-depth consultative appointment with Dr. Laverson to determine their surgical plan based on their concerns, needs, and available techniques. If you are considering reconstruction, it's important that you understand realistic expectations for results. While Dr. Laverson aims to give you an attractive, natural appearance, your reconstructed breast(s) may not have the same sensations, feel, or look the same as your original breast(s). You should be cleared by your oncology team to undergo reconstruction surgery and talk to Dr. Laverson regarding other medical conditions that may impair your recovery.
Fortunately, there are many surgical techniques available to reconstruct the breasts. There are also multiple factors that Dr. Laverson considers when deciding on the technique that will give you your best results. A few of these factors include your specific cancer diagnosis, when the reconstruction is performed, whether you will use implants or natural tissue, and if nipple reconstruction or nipple-sparing will be a part of the treatment plan. To recreate the breast, you must have enough tissue to fully cover the breast mound. Flap techniques accomplish this by using your own muscle, skin, and fat to build and cover the breast. The most popularly employed flap techniques are:
- TRAM Flap
This technique takes muscle, skin, and fat from your abdomen to rebuild the breast. The tissue selected to build the new breast may be removed from the stomach or the tissue may stay connected to the donor location, maintaining the original blood supply.
- DIEP Flap
Similar to a TRAM flap, the DIEP flap uses skin, fat, and blood vessels from the lower abdominal area; however, it does not use the muscle. The DIEP (deep inferior epigastric perforator) flap moves skin and fat from the stomach to build the new breast, then uses microsurgery to reattach the transferred blood vessels to the chest wall.
- Latissimus Dorsi Flap
This technique uses muscle, fat, and skin from your back. For this method, tissue is taken from the back to the breast(s) via a surgically created path so it stays attached to the donor location, which keeps the original blood supply in place.
- PAP Flap
Another flap is the profunda artery perforator (PAP). This method uses fat, skin, and muscle tissue from your inner thigh to reconstruct your breast(s).
- LTP Flap
Although the TRAM flap is one of the most common techniques used for breast reconstruction, sometimes there isn't enough muscle, fat, and skin that can be taken from the abdominal area. In this case, the LTP flap technique may be performed, which uses tissue from the outer thigh.
- Composite Flap
Also called a composite stacked flap, this technique takes flaps from various sections of your body for breast reconstruction.
Although flap procedures are a common and highly successful method for breast reconstruction surgery, it could be advisable to rebuild your breast(s) with the tissue expansion method. This technique places a tissue expander below the breast wall and is gradually filled with a saline solution over 4 – 6 months to stretch the skin naturally. After you choose the flap method or tissue expansion, you may then decide whether you would prefer to use breast implants or a fat transfer to create the shape and volume of the breast(s). After your reconstruction mammoplasty, you can further improve their appearance by having areola and nipple reconstruction. There are several ways to restore the nipple and areola so that it appears natural.
What to Expect
Surgical breast reconstruction is done in several steps. In some phases (like the flap creation, tissue expansion, or implant placement), general anesthesia may be used. Some patients may need to stay overnight after their treatment, but this will depend on the actual treatment phase. When the last stage is completed for your breast reconstruction, you should wear a medical support bra. Additionally, you may be prescribed medication by Dr. Laverson to help control discomfort, swelling, and bleeding. In time, the reconstructed breast(s) should appear more natural, and your comfort will increase. Regular checks with breast exams and mammograms are essential and highly recommended for your ongoing health.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does insurance cover my surgery?
The Women's Health and Cancer Rights Act (WHCRA) of 1998 requires health insurance policies that cover breast cancer surgery (mastectomy) to cover reconstruction surgery as well. If you have health insurance, a team member at San Diego Cosmetic Clinic will work to understand your policy and benefits. We can also assist you in getting any needed information to your insurance provider.
Which technique should I choose?
With so many options available, there is no single reconstruction technique that works for every patient. The recommended method for you will depend on your concerns, wants, and physique. In your initial consultation, Dr. Laverson will explain your choices, including both flaps and implants, so you can understand the advantages and drawbacks of each before deciding which is best for you. Whether you choose a flap or implants, Dr. Laverson will do his best to make your results look natural.
What about nipple reconstruction?
Nipple and areola reconstruction are typically done using 3D cosmetic tattooing. If you're interested in this, you should talk to Dr. Laverson during your initial consultation. He will explain your options to help you decide whether you'd like nipple and areola reconstruction to be included in your surgical plan.
Should I have reconstruction with my mastectomy or wait?
The timing of your breast reconstruction is a personal decision. Some patients decide to have their breast(s) reconstructed along with their mastectomy while others decide to wait until later. Dr. Laverson suggests you make an appointment for a consultation following a diagnosis of breast cancer so you can start thinking about your choices, including when you want to have breast reconstruction surgery. If you want to receive your reconstruction alongside your breast cancer treatment, Dr. Laverson will collaborate with your oncology team to plan your care.
Plan Your Procedure
- Recovery Time
- 1 – 2 weeks
- Average Procedure Time
- 1 – 4 hours
- Procedure Recovery Location
Reclaim Your Self-Confidence
Although the process of breast reconstruction can take time, it's probably one of the top beneficial surgeries for our San Diego, CA patients at San Diego Cosmetic Clinic. It can help improve the physical and emotional impact of breast cancer treatment while also allowing you to reclaim your figure and self-confidence. If you have breast cancer, have had an injury to the chest, or have a congenital defect that affects the appearance of your breasts, we encourage you to contact our San Diego, CA office and schedule an appointment with board-certified plastic surgeon and cosmetic breast specialist Dr. Steve Laverson.