Plastic Surgery in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Gilbert, Chandler, Glendale and surrounding areas in Arizona
For most patients, a diagnosis of breast cancer often comes with significant concern over the possible loss or deformity of the breast. However, many patients are unaware of the advances that have been made in the field of breast reconstruction. In most cases, Dr. Gawley can reconstruct a woman’s breast following mastectomy or lumpectomy with outstanding, natural results. Dr. Gawley understands that improving your self-image and sense of wholeness are equally important and an integral part of your treatment and recovery from breast cancer. In short, your recovery from breast cancer treatment no longer means living without your breasts.
Breast reconstruction options
Breast reconstruction is a staged process in which the breast mound is reconstructed either immediately following mastectomy or at a later date depending on a patient’s individual situation. Dr. Gawley will often use an adjustable implant or a tissue expander that is placed at the time of mastectomy under a patient’s skin and pectorals muscle. This following several (2-5) painless in-office expansions over 2-3 months, a second operation is required to then exchange the temporary expander with a soft permanent implant. The nipple and areola are reconstructed using small in-office procedures and medical tattooing.
Tissue expander and implant reconstruction offers excellent results with less downtime and risk to patients. For this reason, Dr. Gawley performs this type of reconstruction more often. Some patients, however, may need a more aggressive type of reconstruction depending on their specific situation and type of cancer treatment.
In some cases, Dr. Gawley may recommend the use of a patient’s own tissue for reconstruction. Commonly, this “autologous” reconstruction uses either a patient’s abdominal skin or muscle—TRAM flap, or back skin and muscle—latissimus flap, for reconstructing the breast mound. Patients with a history of or future need for radiation treatment may benefit from this type of reconstruction; however, many patients with radiation may still be a candidate for implant reconstruction. It really depends on how a patient recovered from the radiation treatment and the quality of the chest skin.
Patients who undergo mastectomy and reconstruction on one breast commonly undergo a symmetry procedure on the opposite breast to match. This may be an augmentation, reduction or lift, depending on each situation.
If you have already had a mastectomy, even if it was years ago, Dr. Gawley can still begin the reconstructive process and create beautiful, symmetrical breasts.
It is very common that over the years following breast reconstruction, changes may occur in a patient’s breasts—asymmetry, implant hardening, and recurrent deformity. Dr. Gawley can often offer revisional surgery to improve size, shape, and symmetry years after your cancer treatment and reconstruction.
Most importantly, both initial and revisional breast reconstruction surgeries are usually covered by your insurance.
Each patient is unique and has unique needs. Dr. Gawley will go over your options and help you decide which method is best for you.
Breast reconstruction safety
Breast reconstruction will not cause your cancer to come back and does not interfere with treatments such as radiation or chemotherapy. Cancer patients who have a positive outlook typically have a much better treatment outcome.
For many women, breast reconstruction is an important part of recovery, minimizing the emotional impact and sense of loss and helping them maintain hope, self-esteem, and a positive outlook.
Dr. Gawley can reconstruct your breasts if you suffer from congenital defects and breast abnormalities such as missing nipples or lack of chest muscle (Poland’s Syndrome).
Corrective breast surgery
Dr. Gawley is one of the few cosmetic surgeons who are willing to perform corrective breast surgery for patients who have undergone prior breast surgery with poor results.
Insurance and breast reconstruction
In most cases, breast reconstruction is covered by health insurance because it is not an elective procedure. Dr. Gawley accepts insurance for reconstructive breast surgery. Unfortunately, we cannot accept insurance for corrective breast surgery.
Learn more on Questions about Breast Reconstruction.
If you are anticipating mastectomy, Dr. Gawley can coordinate with your surgeon for a streamlined mastectomy/reconstruction procedure. Please call or email us right away so we can schedule your initial consultation and get you on your way to recovery.