If you’re facing or have undergone a mastectomy, lumpectomy, or radiation therapy for treatment or prevention of breast cancer, Breast Reconstruction surgery or Correction of Prior Breast Reconstruction provides a way to create a new, natural appearing and feeling breast and nipple. The goal of breast restoration procedures is to renew your sense of self and your confidence by restoring your breast shape and appearance, while creating symmetry with the opposite breast when needed.
“I had Stage 3 breast cancer and elected to have a bi-lateral mastectomy. I wanted breast reconstruction so started meeting with Dr. Burke and her Nurse Practitioner, Sam, a few months prior to the surgery. They were both incredibly helpful. I remember that their first words to me were, “I’m sorry to be meeting you under these circumstances.” They took time to explain all of my options, review pre-surgical requirements, as well as potential post-op complications. Dr. Burke is incredibly talented, but does not display any sense of “ego” at all. What an approachable lady!” – RealSelf Review
A breast cancer diagnosis is an emotionally challenging time, and Dr. Burke believes your care is part of a team effort between you, your doctors, your family and support system. Dr. Burke will begin by listening to your concerns and goals and will discuss the treatment options available. Dr. Burke will also work closely with your breast surgeon and oncologist to review your treatment plan, including timing of reconstruction prior to cancer treatment.
Timing is important to both your physical and emotional health. Breast Reconstruction surgery can be performed at the time of surgery (immediate), or weeks to years after your initial surgery (delayed), depending on additional therapies required and your personal preference. Correction of Prior Breast Reconstruction can be performed months to years following the initial procedure that did not meet your expectations.
“I was sent to Dr. Burke by my surgeon. She was wonderful. I had many questions and was very confused at the time. She spent quite awhile with me and answered all my questions. I am so grateful for her skills and compassion. I highly recommend her. I am completely happy with her and her entire staff.” – RealSelf Review
A variety of specialized techniques exist for Breast Reconstruction surgery. Dr. Burke will work with you to determine the options that will best achieve your individual goals. The most frequently used techniques include:
Reconstruction with Breast Implants: This option is a two-staged procedure requiring the initial placement of a Tissue Expander, a medical device which is slowly filled with saline over time to create a pocket for the implant. The expander is generally replaced later with a gel Breast Implant. If necessary, Dr. Burke utilizes the most up-to-date techniques to refine Breast Implant reconstruction, including the use of tissue substitutes and fat grafting to provide natural-appearing outcomes where there is not ample enough tissue to cover the implant.
Reconstruction with Your Own Tissue and Muscle: This technique utilizes your own skin, fat, and muscle to reconstruct your breast. The most common donor areas are the abdomen or back (latissimus) muscles. Reconstruction utilizing your own muscle and skin can be used in conjunction with a breast implant if additional volume is needed. Other specialized and often staged techniques to refine and complete your optimal outcome will be fully explained to you before you begin your reconstruction.
Revision of the Opposite Breast: If only one breast has been treated for cancer or requires reconstruction, Dr. Burke may recommend a breast augmentation, breast lift or a breast reduction to the opposite breast, to achieve symmetry between your natural breast and the breast that is reconstructed.
Reconstruction of the Nipple and Areola: Reconstruction of the nipple and areola are performed after your initial Breast Reconstruction surgery. Outpatient procedures utilizing local tissue flaps and tattooing techniques may be combined to restore the natural size, projection, and color of the nipple and areola.
Breast reconstruction is performed under general anesthesia. One or more nights in the hospital will be recommended depending on the timing of your mastectomy and the reconstruction technique chosen.
Recovery from breast reconstruction depends on the techniques used. You can generally return to normal daily activities within 7-10 days and your regular routine within 4 weeks. Results can be long-term, but weight loss/gain, implant changes, or natural aging may alter your appearance.