Dr Siamak Agha MD, PhD, FACS

Dr Ali Razfar MD, Double Board Certified

949-644-2442

Dr Siamak Agha MD, PhD, FACS
Dr Ali Razfar MD, Double Board Certified

Breast Reconstruction
Newport Beach

The Ultimate Cosmetic Solution
for Breast Cancer Patients

Being diagnosed with breast cancer is not only physically taxing, but also emotionally and mentally draining. Women diagnosed with breast cancer face a multitude of mental, emotional, and physical challenges. The disease starts with a tumor, which, if not removed early on, may spread to the lymph nodes and metastasize to other parts and organs of your body.

Before you know it, the cancer may progress so much that there is no other way to cure it but to have part or the entire breast removed. Add that with the emotional baggage of dealing with hair loss and skin changes, and you have a disease that challenges your emotional stability.

The potential of losing one or both your breasts can greatly affect the perception you hold of your body, self-image, and identity. It can even make you question yourself as a woman, affecting your self-esteem and sex drive.

Fortunately, you have the option of restoring the appearance of your missing breasts through breast reconstruction surgery.

Dr. Siamak Agha, one of SoCal’s top board-certified plastic surgeons, can help you renew your sense of femininity and beauty by recreating the size and shape of your natural breast.

Learn more about how breast reconstruction can help you restore your confidence after having your breasts removed by reading the rest of this article.

OVERVIEW

What is Breast Reconstruction?

Once you are diagnosed with breast cancer that doesn’t respond to non-invasive treatments, you have two surgical options to choose from. 

The first one is a lumpectomy, which is the removal of the cancerous tumor. The second and more drastic one is a mastectomy, which is the removal of the entire breast.

In both cases, breast reconstruction surgery may be needed to rebuild the shape and look of the breast so that you can regain your initial physical appearance. The goal of the surgery is to create a reconstructed breast that resembles the other breast in shape and size. 

If both breasts have undergone a mastectomy, then breast reconstruction can be used to create balance and stability for the patient.

But more than the physical appearance, breast reconstruction can help you recapture your self-esteem by having beautiful breasts again, thereby improving your quality of life.

But more than the physical appearance, breast reconstruction can help you recapture your self-esteem by having beautiful breasts again, thereby improving your quality of life.

With breast reconstruction, you can live your life without having a constant reminder of your mastectomy or lumpectomy. In turn, this can lead to a healthier lifestyle where you feel good about your appearance after combating breast cancer. 

Do You Need Breast Reconstruction?

To know if you will benefit from breast reconstruction, here are some questions that you need to answer first.

  • Has one or both of your breasts been removed following breast cancer?
  • Do you want to restore the size and shape of your breasts?
  • Have you coped well with your cancer treatments and are already cancer-free?
  • Can you commit time for several surgeries?
  • Do you feel self-conscious after getting a mastectomy?
  • Would you like to enhance your body image by restoring your breasts?

If you answered YES to any of these questions, then you are a good candidate for breast reconstruction surgery.

… But Can You Get Breast Reconstruction?

Unfortunately, not everyone who had a mastectomy can get breast reconstruction. Here are the factors that you need to consider.

Since the risk for complications increases with age, women over the age of 65 may not be suitable for breast reconstruction. A few new studies show that the risk remains the same at any age, but more research is needed to confirm these findings.

Unlike other breast surgeries, breast reconstruction can involve several procedures over the course of many months. That is why it is important to make sure that you are physically and psychologically prepared to undergo this surgery.

In general, implants are recommended for patients having both breasts reconstructed (bilateral). Flap breast reconstruction is advised for reconstructing one breast only (unilateral).

Being cancer-free and not having any severe pre-existing conditions is a must for breast reconstruction. Otherwise, it might make your operation too risky.

Keep in mind that while breast reconstruction can go a long way in helping you feel better physically and emotionally, the result may not mimic the exact look and feel of your natural breasts. Discuss with your plastic surgeon your expectations and goals in getting breast reconstruction.

I had breast reconstruction after a mastectomy by a well-known surgeon who botched the surgery and left me disfigured. Dr. Agha not only repaired the damage, his reconstruction surgery corrected the problem completely.
Betsy S.

What are the Different Breast Reconstruction Techniques?

Thanks to the latest technological advancements, women now have several options when it comes to breast reconstruction techniques.

In general, you can choose between implant reconstruction and/or flap breast reconstruction. 

Get more in-depth information about these methods as you read along.

Implant Reconstruction

While most women are familiar with breast implants for the purpose of breast augmentation, only a few know that implants can also be used to reconstruct the breasts.

Now considered as the primary method of breast reconstruction, implant reconstruction is a less invasive way to carry out the surgery compared to flap breast reconstruction. It also requires less recovery time.

Implant reconstruction is recommended for women who are very thin and don’t have a lot of excess tissue that can be used for flap breast reconstruction.

It is also the preferred method for patients having both breasts reconstructed (bilateral patients) because it is much easier to achieve symmetrical methods using this technique.

Just like the usual breast implants, the ones used for breast reconstruction are available in saline or silicone variants and come in various sizes, shapes, and textures. These are all approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.

Flap Breast Reconstruction

Another popular breast reconstruction approach is the flap breast reconstruction, which involves removing tissue from the patient’s back, abdomen, thighs, or buttocks and moving it to the chest area to be reshaped and rebuilt as a breast.

Using your own tissues to construct a new breast has its advantages. For one, these tissues retain their ability to function normally, meaning they shrink or enlarge every time you lose or gain weight. You also don’t need to worry about implant rupture or the need to replace them in the future.

But since there will essentially be two surgical sites, expect a longer recovery time than implant reconstruction. After all, you will not only have to deal with healing your new breast but also avoiding problems and complications at the site where the tissues will be harvested.

There are plenty of techniques for flap breast reconstruction, but the following are the ones that Dr. Agha commonly uses.

Transverse Rectus Abdominis Muscle (TRAM) Flap

TRAM flap surgery uses muscles and tissues from your lower abdominal wall for breast reconstruction. The tissues from this area are often sufficient enough to form a new breast without using implants.

At least one muscle, along with the blood vessels and overlying fat and skin, is transferred from the abdomen to the chest. The flap is then used for breast reconstruction while the abdominal incision is closed like a tummy tuck.  

Thus, the surgery produces the same result as a tummy tuck, although it weakens your abdominal wall.

You can choose between two types of TRAM flaps:

 

  • Pedicle Flap - The flap, with its muscle and overlying fat and skin attached to its original blood source, is passed into the chest area and used for breast reconstruction. 
  • Free Flap - The flap, with its muscle, blood vessels, and overlying fat and skin, is completely excised from its primary location and reconnected microsurgically to the blood vessels in the chest.

Latissimus Dorsi Flap

This flap reconstruction approach uses skin and muscles from your upper back to create a breast mound or cover an implant during breast reconstruction.

It results in a plumper and a more rounded reconstructed breast as the tissue is channeled under the skin to the chest area.

Superior Gluteal Artery Perforator (SGAP) Flap

Also known as the gluteal free flap, the SGAP flap uses tissues and muscles from the buttocks. It is the method of choice for women who aren’t eligible to have abdominal tissues removed.

But just like the TRAM free flap, the SGAP flap and its surrounding tissues are completely cut off from the buttocks and reconnected to the tiny vessels of the chest through microsurgery.

The gluteal free flap is one of the newer techniques in breast reconstruction surgery.

How Does Dr. Agha Do Breast Reconstruction?

As previously mentioned, breast reconstruction often requires more than one procedure. You may choose to do the surgery at the same time as your mastectomy or wait until you have healed from it.

Here is a rundown of Dr. Agha’s approach in performing breast reconstruction.

How Do You Recover from Breast Reconstruction?

Since breast reconstruction surgery is an ongoing process that’s completed in several stages, you should be prepared to deal with several months of discomfort.

Typically, breast reconstruction needs at least six weeks of recovery. Flap reconstruction may take a longer healing time than implant reconstruction because healing must take place in two areas of the body.

You might need to stay in the hospital for two to five days after your breast reconstruction. You will experience bruising, swelling, soreness, and numbness or loss of sensation at your surgical site for at least two weeks post-op. It may even take up to eight weeks for bruising and swelling to subside. Dr. Agha will prescribe you pain medications to manage discomfort.

You will be asked to wear a firm, supportive bra without any underwire and lace while you’re healing. Ask Dr. Agha when you are allowed to go back to wearing regular bras.

What Results Can You Expect from Breast Reconstruction?

Regardless of the surgical technique used, you can expect the following results from your breast reconstruction.

  • Balanced or symmetrical breast appearance
  • Improved body contour
  • Better mental and emotional state
  • Higher self-esteem
  • Improved quality of life

What are the Potential Risks and Complications?

Though breast implants are considered safe, they do have their fair share of risks. 

Some complications that can develop include leaking, ruptured implants, capsular contracture, and shifting of position. Plus, implants do not last forever, so they may need to be replaced over time.

How Much Does a Breast Reconstruction Cost?

According to RealSelf figures from actual patients, the average cost of breast reconstruction is around $15,000.

The actual cost depends on a number of factors, such as the breast reconstruction technique, anesthesia, surgery location, lab and medical tests, medicines, and your choice of plastic surgeon.

Get Your Breast Reconstruction Done in Newport Beach, Orange County

Getting breast reconstruction surgery is not a one-time deal. It is a long and winding process that can take a toll on your physical, mental, and emotional health, but rest assured that we will hold your hand every step of the way here in The Aesthetic Centers.

Dr. Agha’s board certification and more than a decade of experience in cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery ensure that you can achieve your desired results as much as possible. He also makes sure that your breast reconstruction is handled with utmost safety and compassion, from consultation to post-op care.