What is Breast Reconstruction? 

Breast reconstruction offers hope to women who have lost or are facing the possibility of losing their breast(s) to cancer or other diseases. Breast reconstruction is typically performed using either implants or your abdominal tissue. In a majority of cases, however, Dr. Richard H. Lee uses tissue expanders and breast implants to restore the size and shape of the breast.

How Dr. Lee Performs Breast Reconstruction 

Dr. Lee uses a tissue expander to perform breast reconstruction surgery. Tissue expanders are devices much like a breast implant, which are inserted underneath the chest wall muscle (pectoralis muscle) immediately following mastectomy. 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 are 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.

Mastectomy and Breast Reconstruction

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 that 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.

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Who Is a Candidate for Breast Reconstruction?

Candidates for breast reconstruction are those who have lost their breasts due to cancer or other illnesses. Other candidates are those who are planning to undergo a mastectomy. The first step of your breast reconstruction journey is a consultation with Dr. Lee to determine if you are a candidate for the procedure. During your consultation, Dr. Lee will examine the area and discuss your goals for the procedure. He will then make recommendations on how to best tailor your procedure to your unique needs.

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Nipple Reconstruction

For many women undergoing breast reconstruction, nipple reconstruction may also be required to restore their breasts. 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.

Why Choose Dr. Lee?

Dr. Richard H. Lee is a board-certified plastic surgeon based in Newport Beach. He uses innovative techniques to help reconstruct the breasts and restore their natural shape. Dr. Lee brings an artistic perspective to plastic surgery and can draw his goals for the procedure, providing you with a picture of your potential results. 

Breast Reconstruction Recovery

Dr. Lee will provide you with extensive recovery instructions before your procedure. Following these instructions will ensure you achieve the best possible results. Some of the most important steps of your recovery include:

  • Keep your breasts wrapped in an Ace bandage for the first 72 hours. After this, the bandages can be removed for showering before being reapplied.
  • Take medications recommended by Dr. Lee and avoid anti-inflammatory medications for two weeks after your procedure.
  • Sleep on your back for two weeks following surgery.
  • Do not consume alcohol or smoke for two weeks after your surgery.
  • Do not lift your arms overhead or lift heavy objects for three weeks.

Dr. Lee will ask that you return to the office to ensure you are healing well. He will then evaluate when you can resume more strenuous activities, including exercise. After your surgery, Dr. Lee will also instruct you on how to care for your scars to help them heal well.  

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Schedule A Consultation Today

Dr. Richard H. 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.

Our practice serves patients throughout Orange County and greater Los Angeles, including the communities of Santa Ana, Irvine, and more.

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