Our surgeons have years of experience in breast reconstruction and specialize in this area.
The goal of breast reconstruction is to restore or maintain natural looking breasts after breast cancer surgery. The surgeons at Hill Country Plastic Surgery are experienced in a variety of different reconstructive techniques and procedures to fit the patient’s goals, body, and lifestyle. We offer implant reconstruction, oncoplastic reconstruction, and revisional breast surgeries and will work with your breast cancer team to achieve optimal outcomes.
About Breast Reconstruction Surgery
Patients may need reconstruction in one or both breasts after cancer surgeries such as:
- Lumpectomy (removal of a portion of the breast)
- Mastectomy (removal of the entire breast)
Reconstructive surgery can be done at the time of mastectomy or lumpectomy or after completion of the cancer treatment. There are multiple factors that influence the type and timing of reconstruction such as:
- Cancer treatment plan, including if radiation is required
- Your overall health
- Your body type and shape and size of the breasts
- Your lifestyle
The surgeons at Hill Country Plastic Surgery employ the newest techniques to achieve optimal outcomes. Your surgeons will work closely with your breast cancer team of doctors. They have many years of prior experience at an NCI-designated cancer center and are dedicated to comprehensive, multi-disciplinary care.
If you are interested in breast reconstruction or want to see if you are a candidate, discuss this with your breast cancer doctors. With a referral from your physician, you can talk to the surgeons at Hill Country Plastic Surgery to learn about what reconstructive options we can offer you.
Options for Breast Reconstruction Surgery
Many women have breast reconstruction during the same procedure as their cancer surgery. First, breast surgeons remove the cancer then our plastic and reconstructive surgeons create new breasts during the same surgery. This is called “immediate” reconstruction. Sometimes it is necessary to have the reconstruction after you have healed from the first cancer surgery. This is called “delayed” reconstruction. You may still be a candidate for reconstruction even if you have had a lumpectomy or mastectomy done many years ago without reconstruction.
Reconstruction is major surgery and can require weeks of recovery afterwards. For some procedures, patients can be discharged the same day. For others, you may be in the hospital for multiple days. We work to minimize discomfort and keep your care moving forward with our enhanced recovery from surgery protocols. After surgery, our team stays in regular contact with you through clinic visits, phone calls, or through the patient portal so we can detect potential complications early.
Breast reconstruction surgery after mastectomy
Types of breast reconstruction surgery we offer include:
Breast reconstruction surgery after lumpectomy
For patients who are candidates for lumpectomy and want to keep as much of their natural breast tissue as possible, we offer “oncoplastic reconstruction”. For those who have had a lumpectomy in the past and are not satisfied with the appearance of the breasts, we also are able to do revisions.
Areola and nipple reconstruction
After healing from any type of breast reconstruction surgery, you may want to have a nipple and areola reconstructed. This can be done in different ways to get the best result. The reconstructed nipple does not have feeling or erectile function like a natural nipple.
Breast reconstruction matching (symmetry) surgery for the other side
If reconstruction is done only on one side, it may be necessary to adjust the other side to match. The procedures that are done are the same as what is done for cosmetic breast surgery. Read about breast lift, breast augmentation and breast reduction surgeries to learn more about these procedures that can be used for your reconstruction.
Breast reconstruction revision surgery
Sometimes revisions are needed. The surgeons at Hill Country Plastic Surgery can help correct problems that occur after breast reconstruction surgery because of infections, scar tissue, or if the breasts are uneven. Breast reconstruction is not the same as cosmetic breast surgery so during your consultation, your surgeons will discuss with you what is and is not possible to achieve.
What to Expect During Your Consultation Visit
During your appointment with us, we will learn more about you and offer personalized recommendations for treatment. There are many different techniques for reconstruction and our job is to help you decide what is best for you. Prior to your appointment, we will review your cancer history, mammograms and other studies, biopsies, and treatments. Based on this information we will be able to determine what procedures you are a candidate for and discuss with you the pros and cons of each procedure.
We will perform a physical examination which will consist of a breast examination and measurements. We may also take photographs if you will be having surgery done soon.
During your consultation, we will discuss many options and help determine the best course of treatment for you. You will receive the consultation notes and recommendations, plus other resources that can help you be informed and prepared for your upcoming surgery. The information we provide you is based on the latest research and our years of personal experience with patients who have undergone breast reconstruction.
Breast reconstruction is often covered by insurance. For patients that are undergoing cancer surgery on one side, insurance will often cover a procedure for the other side to match the reconstructed side.We will assist you in determining how your plan covers the procedure and if you will have out-of-pocket expenses.
After your consultation, you will receive access to your notes on the patient portal in addition to information about your specific surgery. If you have not activated your patient portal, this can be done at your appointment by asking any of our staff to assist you. If you have questions after your appointment, you can contact our office or message us through the patient portal. Some patients will require medical clearance from their primary care physician or a specialist or additional tests before undergoing surgery.
Once you have determined that you would like to have surgery and have completed any clearances and tests that were requested, contact our office at (210) 658-3555 to schedule a pre-operative appointment with one of our surgeons.
Breast Reconstruction FAQs
How do I choose a breast reconstruction surgeon?
The breast reconstruction process can take up to a full year in some cases. It is important that you feel comfortable with and trust your surgeon to be able to meet your reconstruction goals. You will be able to meet and talk with your surgeon to determine if he or she is the right person for you.
What if I’m having or had radiation?
Radiation affects the healing of skin, the color, the ability for it to stretch and can make the skin harder and firmer. While radiation does not exclude you from reconstruction, it can increase the risks. Not all patients respond to radiation in the same way so we will evaluate you, your skin, and your treatment to determine which reconstructive procedures are right for you.
Will my insurance cover my reconstruction?
The Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act of 1998 guarantees reconstruction after mastectomy or lumpectomy for women with insurance. While reconstruction is covered, there are many differences between insurances and not all reconstructive procedures may be covered. We will work with your insurance carrier to determine your benefits.
Do you do surgery to fix lymphedema after breast cancer surgery?
We currently do not do surgery to correct lymphedema after breast cancer surgery. However, we do procedures to treat lymphedema and lipedema on other parts of the body.
When should I see a breast reconstruction surgeon?
It is recommended that you see us before any surgery is done. That way, we can determine the best timing for your reconstruction.