Secondary Breast Reconstruction, Getting It Right

Dr. Constance M Chen

With an individualized plan and advanced surgical techniques, we can often improve size, shape, and symmetry problems after the initial breast reconstruction to help a woman’s breasts look more normal again and to restore a sense of wholeness.

For many women, breast reconstruction is a process rather than a single procedure. Some women have experienced complications, particularly with implants, that require additional surgery. And many women are simply unhappy with the results of their breast reconstruction. “The goal of breast reconstruction after mastectomy is to create a natural breast with the shape, softness and symmetry of the original,” says plastic surgeon and breast reconstruction specialist Dr. Constance M. Chen. “Sometimes follow-up adjustments are necessary to achieve that goal, and some women may need corrective surgery to reverse the effects of a failed reconstruction. It’s important for women to know that with an individualized plan and advanced surgical techniques, we can often improve size, shape, and symmetry problems after the initial breast reconstruction to help a woman’s breasts look more normal again and to restore a sense of wholeness.”

In general, the best aesthetic outcomes are achieved with natural tissue. There is a principle in plastic surgery to “replace like with like.” On the operating room table, the actual breast tissue looks and feels like regular fat – the breast tissue and fat are almost indistinguishable. Thus, when it is possible to use a woman’s own fat tissue recreate the breast, the reconstructed breast will feel very much like the original – sometimes it is almost identical. Many patients do not realize that even if they have already…

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