Introduction to Breast Reconstruction
Breast cancer can be a scary and difficult time for both the patient and the family. When the patient becomes a survivor, it’s a whole new level of emotions – joy, excitement, and gratefulness. It’s truly a testament to the strength and determination to beat that sickness and be able to continue living a full life. Unfortunately, most breast cancer survivors must undergo a mastectomy in order to beat it, which often leads to one or both breasts being removed, or at least significantly altered. The truth of this aftermath is that this leaves many women not feeling like themselves and losing a lot of their self-confidence. At the Nikolov Center for Plastic Surgery in Beverly Hills, Dr. Nikolov not only supports breast cancer survivors but offers the opportunity to feel complete again with the Breast Reconstruction procedure. If you feel like this surgery could help you and improve your self-image, our team has provided a layout of what you can expect if you come in for breast reconstruction in our Beverly Hills surgical suite.
What is Breast Reconstruction?
Breast Reconstruction helps restore one or both breasts to as close to their normal shape, size, appearance, and symmetry as possible after undergoing a mastectomy or other surgeries. The treatment often requires multiple procedures being performed in stages, and can either begin at the time of the mastectomy or at a later date.
There are typically two categories of breast reconstruction: flap reconstruction and implant-based reconstruction. Flap reconstruction (also referred to as autologous reconstruction) takes tissue from another part of the patient’s body to form a new breast. Implant reconstruction uses breast implants to form a new breast mound. In order to decide on which technique is best for you, Dr. Nikolov will consider the following things: the type of mastectomy you had, any additional cancer treatments you received, and your body type.
If you only had one breast affected during your cancer treatment, it alone can be reconstructed to match your other breast.
What are the Benefits of Breast Reconstruction?
Breast Reconstruction has been beneficial for so many of our women patients. Here are just a few of them:
- Boosts confidence and self-esteem
- Customizable, offering options for your unique needs
- Dramatic, permanent results
- Eliminates the need for a prosthesis
- Restores proportionality and balance
What’s the First Step?
The first step in getting Breast Reconstruction in Beverly Hills is to contact the Nikolov Center for Plastic Surgery and schedule a consultation. When you come in for this appointment, you will be able to meet with Dr. Nikolov who will discuss the issues and concerns you are dealing with, give you an evaluation, and ask about your medical and surgical history. You should be completely honest with Dr. Nikolov when discussing everything as your clarity allows him to make the best decisions relating to you. After he has heard everything, he will craft a surgical plan just for you.
If you agree with Dr. Nikolov, you will then schedule a surgical date with our Patient Coordinator. After selecting this date, you will also be given a list of specific directions to follow that will help generate the most optimal outcome during your surgery.
What to Expect on the Day of Breast Reconstruction
Depending on what was discussed during your consultation with Dr. Nikolov, you will either be administered intravenous sedation or general anesthesia to make your procedure comfortable. Once you are under anesthesia, Dr. Nikolov will begin your surgery.
If the two of you talked about a Flap reconstruction, Dr. Nikolov will begin by moving muscle, fat, and skin from your lower abdomen to reconstruct the breast. The flap may either remain attached to the original blood supply and be tunneled up through the chest wall or will be completely detached, and then formed into a breast mound.
If he uses the DIEP flap or SIEA flap techniques, your abdominal muscle will not be used, but your skin and fat is transferred to your chest from the abdomen. If there is insufficient tissue on the lower abdomen, he may use other donor sites such as the buttocks or thighs. The latissimus dorsi flap technique uses muscle, fat, and skin from the back. It is tunneled up to the mastectomy site while remaining attached to its donor site, leaving the blood supply intact. On occasion, the flap can reconstruct a complete breast mound, but the latissimus flap can provide any extra muscle and tissue necessary to cover and support a breast implant.
If you don’t require breast radiation and would like to avoid using a separate donor site, Dr. Nikolov will use implant-based reconstruction. While reconstruction with tissue expansion allows for an easier recovery than the previously mentioned flap procedures, it is typically a lengthier reconstruction process.
It usually requires several office visits over 1-2 months after placement of the expander to gradually fill the device with saline through an internal valve to expand the skin. If this technique is performed, a second surgical procedure will be needed to replace the expander.
Finally, Dr. Nikolov may need to move your nipple and areola so it rests in a more natural location. If this is done, he will keep the nerves and blood supply attached but adjust its position. After all of the changes have been made, you will be sutured with multi-layers in the deeper areas of your breast for support, and the external incisions will be closed.
Although breast reconstruction can rebuild your breast, the results are highly variable:
- A reconstructed breast will not have the same sensation or feel as the breast it replaces
- Certain surgical techniques will leave incision lines at the donor site, commonly located in less exposed areas of the body such as the back, abdomen, or buttocks
- There will always be visible incision lines on the breast, whether from reconstruction or mastectomy
Who are the Best Candidates for Breast Reconstruction?
You may be a candidate for getting a breast reconstruction in Beverly Hills with Dr. Nikolov if you:
- Coped well with your diagnosis and treatment
- Do not have additional medical conditions or other illnesses that may impair healing
- Have a positive outlook and realistic goals for restoring your breast and body image
- Not currently pregnant or breastfeeding
Breast Reconstruction Recovery
After your surgery, Dr. Nikolov will have wrapped your breasts in gauze or bandages for added protection, and you may be required to wear an elastic bandage or support bra to minimize swelling. In some cases, a small, thin tube called a cannula is inserted into your skin to help drain any excess blood or fluid.
You will be able to go home that same day, but you should have someone available to give you a ride as you may still be a little discombobulated from the anesthesia. Dr. Nikolov will provide you with specific instructions that you should follow, as well as some temporary prescription medications that will help aid healing and reduce any risk of infection.
You will continue to heal for several weeks, but the swelling will gradually subside and your breasts will improve in both their shape and position. You will need to keep strenuous activities to a minimum until Dr. Nikolov gives you the OK to start gradually returning to a normal workout routine.
How Much Does Breast Reconstruction Cost in Beverly Hills?
The cost of Breast Reconstruction in Beverly Hills will vary on multiple factors, such as the extent of reconstruction needed, the technique for sedation, and any additional work that is done. When you meet with Dr. Nikolov for your consultation and he creates your surgical plan, you will be able to see a price breakdown for the entirety of your treatment. Oftentimes, breast reconstruction is covered by insurance, this will be discussed with Dr. Nikolov during your consultation.
Why Choose Dr. Nikolov?
Having been viewed as an authority in the field of plastic surgery for more than 20 years, Dr. Nicholas Nikolov is world-renowned for his keen aesthetic sense, techniques, and skill. He has been consulted for numerous television programs and publications, including CNN, CBS, NBC, and the Discovery Health Channel. He is a board-certified plastic surgeon in both Beverly Hills, CA, and Madrid, Spain, and has lectured extensively in his field and even hosted other doctors to observe his procedures. Dr. Nikolov is a diplomat of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and a member of the California Society of Plastic Surgeons, the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, and the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.
Get in Touch
Breast Reconstruction allows so many women to take back their lives after having such a dramatic experience. If you feel that this surgery can help you in a way, please contact the Nikolov Center for Plastic Surgery in Beverly Hills and schedule a consultation to meet with Dr. Nikolov yourself. You can call our office at (310) 247-1932 or request an appointment online and a member of our team will get in touch with you. If you have beaten cancer but still not feeling complete in the aftermath, a Breast Reconstruction may be just what you need to find your power again.