Breast reconstruction offers hope to women who have lost or face the possibility of losing their breast(s) to cancer or other diseases. Breast reconstruction is typically performed using either implants or your own abdominal tissue. In a majority of cases, however, Dr. Richard Lee uses tissue expanders and breast implants to restore the size and shape of the breast.
Tissue expanders are devices much like a breast implant, which are inserted underneath the chest wall muscle (pectoralis muscle) immediately following mastectomy (Figure A, B; see below). After a short period of healing, saline is injected periodically into the tissue expanders using a small needle. This can be done in the comfort of Dr. Lee’s office.
Once the volume and shape of the breast is achieved with the tissue expander, a second surgery is performed to remove the tissue expander and insert the breast implant. This second surgery is often done on an outpatient basis.
You may ask, why not just insert an implant immediately after the mastectomy? In a mastectomy, an ellipse of skin around the nipple and areola (the pigmented area surrounding the nipple) is typically taken along with the breast tissue. This creates a deficit of skin which needs to be replaced. A tissue expander allows for the growth of this replacement skin as the expanding implant stretches the overlying skin. Once the replacement of skin is adequate for the shape and size of the new breast, a breast implant is inserted.
After a period of healing, a new nipple can be reconstructed out of the skin overlying the implant and a new areola can be tattooed sometime after that.
Schedule a Consultation Today
Dr. Richard Lee is an experienced breast surgeon who has performed many reconstruction procedures for women who have undergone mastectomy. If you would like to learn more about your breast reconstruction options, we encourage you to contact Dr. Lee’s Newport Beach office today at 949-548-9312. Our practice serves patients throughout Orange County and greater Los Angeles, including the communities of Santa Ana, Irvine and more.