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Breast reconstruction is a surgical procedure designed to reform or reshape one or both breasts after a mastectomy or lumpectomy. Today, there are more breast reconstruction options available for patients than ever before. Every scenario is unique and needs a customized approach to develop an in-depth breast reconstruction plan.

Newport Beach Center for Plastic Surgery

Am I a candidate for breast reconstruction?

The best candidates for reconstructive breast surgery are those women who have undergone the surgical removal of one or both breasts (mastectomy) or have misshapen breasts following a lumpectomy (removal of breast cancer only rather than the full breast). Your breasts can be reconstructed with the help of breast implants, or, in the case of a lumpectomy, your natural breast tissue can be reshaped to correct any irregular contours.

What can I expect with breast reconstruction in Newport Beach?

We understand that decisions about breast reconstruction can be highly emotional, especially when you are facing the challenges of a recent cancer diagnosis. Traditional approaches to care following a mastectomy generally involve the use of a prosthetic breast implant, a portion of your tissue taken from another area of the body, or a combination of these techniques.

Breast reconstruction may be “immediate,” meaning the reconstructive process begins right after the cancerous tissue is removed, or “delayed,” meaning reconstruction occurs at some point down the road following cancer surgery. Dr. Savalia will consult with you and your breast surgeon to decide which method to use.

I have developed advanced techniques in oncoplastic surgery for immediate breast reconstruction. I can provide details and guidance for your individual needs during your consultation.

Oncoplastic Breast Reconstruction

When lumpectomies started to become a viable alternative to mastectomy, many patients were offered breast conservation as an option. The initial breast appearance after this was often quite good, and patients and doctors were happy.

It was not until later, after radiation therapy, that the true results of a lumpectomy become apparent. When the tumors were small in comparison to the entire breast and in favorable locations, the breast shape and appearance are usually preserved. However, when lumpectomies were performed for tumors that were large relative to breast size or for tumors that were in unfavorable locations in the breast, the breast often appeared misshapen, indented, and smaller than the opposite breast. This unanticipated result, after radiation, is often extremely difficult to correct.

In response, Dr. Savalia has developed a unique technique in oncoplastic surgery which combines oncology surgery and plastic surgery to offer an alternative to traditional mastectomy or lumpectomy. Oncoplastic surgery is a form of immediate reconstruction designed to conserve as much breast tissue as possible while also aggressively removing all the cancerous tissue.

As cancer removal and reconstruction are done at the same time, the vast majority of Dr. Savalia’s patients have all of their surgical treatments completed in one step, with a shorter recovery as compared to mastectomy and reconstruction, and return to life within a few weeks. By combining reconstruction with the lumpectomy procedure, he can preserve the breast shape and minimize any deformity of the breast. In addition, the opposite breast can be reshaped at the same time, if desired, to maintain symmetry.

I needed to have a double mastectomy. I was afraid that I was hoping for the impossible. When I met Dr. Savalia…I knew that he was my doctor. He was generous, kind and very professional.

The stages of reconstruction

Even if you have immediate breast reconstruction during a mastectomy, you will still need to return for minor follow-up surgery. Breast reconstruction after mastectomy generally involves a sequence of two to three operations. The first operation is usually the longest and most complicated part of the breast reconstruction sequence. Additional procedures are almost always completed on an outpatient basis.

These secondary procedures may include implant exchange, revision of the reconstructed breast, nipple reconstruction, and possibly surgery on the opposite breast to achieve symmetry. The timing of any subsequent procedures is impacted by the need for future treatments with chemotherapy or radiation therapy.

Delayed reconstructive surgery

Not every breast cancer woman is a candidate for oncoplastic surgery. For both medical and personal reasons, a woman may wish to wait to have reconstructive surgery following a mastectomy or lumpectomy. Each patient is different, and the decision to proceed with immediate or delayed breast reconstruction may be influenced by the type of tumor to be removed. Dr. Savalia can help patients who want both immediate and delayed breast reconstructions.

Nipple reconstruction

If you choose to surgically reconstruct the nipple, Dr. Savalia offers several options. One common option is to use a small flap of skin from the reconstructed breast and fashion it into a new nipple. He can also reconstruct the areola by taking skin from a different part of the body and sewing it to the new nipple on the reconstructed breast. Another option is to reconstruct the nipple as described above and have the skin around it tattooed to a darker color to make an areola.

Breast Reconstruction FAQ

It is normal to have many questions about breast reconstruction after undergoing treatment for breast cancer. Reconstructive breast surgery is a highly complex procedure that can play an important role in the physical and emotional recovery after breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. Below, Dr. Savalia answers several of the breast reconstruction concerns he hears most often from our patients.

Once you are ready, contact us online or call 949-386-2747 today to schedule your breast reconstruction consultation at Newport Beach Center for Plastic Surgery in Orange County. Dr. Savalia and his staff are completely committed to helping you enjoy a positive experience, from consultation through recovery, as we help you meet your cosmetic goals.

Do I need to decide right away if I want breast reconstruction?

Not at all. Breast reconstruction can be performed at the same time as your mastectomy, but many women choose to wait for months or even years before pursuing reconstructive breast surgery. There are many factors to consider when it comes to properly timing your reconstruction, including your personal preferences, your overall health and existing lifestyle, and whether further cancer treatments are recommended.

Will my nipples need reconstruction too?

Newer surgical techniques do try to preserve the natural nipple whenever possible. However, a nipple-sparing mastectomy isn’t an option for every woman, and nipple reconstruction may be recommended in those cases. Nipples can be reconstructed with the help of a skin graft, then tattooed a darker shade to match the same coloration as your natural breast. You can also choose to have nipple tattoos rather than three-dimensional nipples, and this can be performed after healing from your reconstruction. Some women even visit a skilled tattoo artist for this purpose.

Is reconstruction ever necessary after a lumpectomy?

There is a growing trend toward shrinking breast tumors as much as possible to allow for treatment via lumpectomy rather than a full mastectomy, allowing women to preserve as much natural breast tissue as possible. However, larger tumors can leave indentations or other contour irregularities after removal, which can be improved with the help of reconstruction techniques. The emphasis at our practice is on oncoplastic surgery, the process of removing cancer while simultaneously reshaping the breast for a better final result. In some cases, the impact of a lumpectomy may require a small implant to correct it.

What will my breasts look like after reconstruction?

In the past, it was often said that the goal of breast reconstruction was to create a breast shape that looked natural under clothing, implying that was the best result patients could hope to accomplish. Today, however, standards are held much higher for reconstructive breast surgery, and the emphasis is on creating results that are as natural-looking as possible. That said, it is still important to have realistic expectations about your procedure. The reconstructed breast may always look slightly different from your natural breast, and the appearance of mastectomy or lumpectomy scars, while they should fade and improve considerably over time, do not fully disappear.

Read an article on oncoplastic breast reconstruction co-authored by Dr. Savalia and appearing in The Breast Journal, a peer-reviewed medical publication.

Why choose Newport Beach Center for Plastic Surgery?

Each type of breast reconstruction procedure has benefits and risks, and what may be the best approach for one patient may be less optimal for another; Dr. Nirav Savalia offers his patients a range of breast reconstruction options to meet their individual needs

Dr. Savalia has advanced training in oncoplastic surgery techniques for immediate breast reconstruction and can provide details and guidance for your individual needs during your consultation

Choosing to undergo breast reconstruction surgery is a very personal decision; Dr. Savalia will make a recommendation based on your goals, and help you determine the option that is right for you

Newport Beach Center for Plastic Surgery

Schedule a consultation today!

We encourage you to contact us today to schedule a consultation at Newport Beach Center for Plastic Surgery in Orange County. Along with his supportive staff, Dr. Savalia is committed to helping you reach your cosmetic goals and will take the time necessary during your consultation to give you his recommendations and educate you about all of your options.

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