Expertise in Breast Reconstruction Options
Houston Methodist’s experienced breast reconstructive surgeons understand that breast cancer can be an overwhelming diagnosis. We provide advanced breast reconstruction and restoration procedures in a caring and supportive environment while allowing you to rehabilitate and regain femininity.
We are experts in:
- Advanced breast reconstruction techniques, including use of the patient’s own excess abdominal tissue to reconstruct the breast or using implants
- Mastectomy, including nipple-sparing mastectomy, with or without immediate reconstruction
- Microsurgery to restore form, function and sensation to the breast, as well as supermicrosurgery, which involves the connection of tiny blood vessels
- Sculpting to make the restored breast appear natural
Houston Methodist is one of only a few hospital systems around the country with expertise restoring breast sensation after a mastectomy. In addition to pioneering and mastering the complex techniques needed to reestablish breast sensation, our skilled microsurgeons continue to improve this procedure through clinical trials.
Types of Procedures
- Nipple-sparing mastectomy with immediate reconstruction — the skin of the breast and nipple are preserved and reconstruction takes place during mastectomy,
- Delayed reconstruction — reconstruction occurs some time later than mastectomy, typically in cases involving radiation after mastectomy
- Restoration — microsurgical connection of nerves to offer the possibility of regaining normal breast sensation
- Flap procedures —transplanting of excess tissue to resemble breast tissue :
- Deep inferior Epigastric Perforator Flap (DIEP FLAP) — harvesting of excess skin and fat from the lower abdomen
- Inferior gluteal artery perforator flap (IGAP FLAP) — use of tissue from the lower buttock without sacrificing the underlying gluteal muscles
- Superior gluteal artery perforator flap (SGAP FLAP) — harvesting of tissue and blood vessels from the top buttock without injuring the underlying gluteal muscles
- Superficial inferior epigastric artery flap (SIEA FLAP) — harvesting of small vessels from the fatty layer just below the abdominal skin for blood supply of a reconstructed breast
Nipple-Sparing Mastectomy With Immediate Reconstruction
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Does breast sensation change after surgery?
Usually after mastectomy, there will be a decrease in sensation. Many nerves in the nipple travel through the breast skin and tissue. During a mastectomy, that tissue is removed with those nerves. By using a patient’s own tissue during breast reconstruction, our microsurgeons can sometimes reconnect one or more nerves to improve sensation in the breast.
Who is a candidate for breast reconstruction?
Most breast cancer patients are candidates.
Who is a candidate for double mastectomy?
Patients with the BRCA 1 or BRCA 2 genes who have been diagnosed with breast cancer in one breast have the option for double mastectomy. Additionally, patients who carry a gene mutation but have not yet been diagnosed with the disease are candidates to reduce their risk of breast cancer.
Is breast reconstruction covered by insurance?
Yes, it is covered. In 1998, a law was passed requiring coverage.
Is reconstruction using implants possible?
Yes, we simultaneously perform a mastectomy and place an implant.
How will I look after breast reconstruction?
We can achieve a result that helps a woman feel feminine, attractive and like herself again.
What is a nipple-sparing mastectomy with immediate reconstruction?
Nipple-sparing mastectomy with immediate reconstruction is a revolutionary way to offer mastectomy. We take out breast tissue without removing the breast skin and nipple. We reconstruct the breast during the same operation. This allows us to perform the reconstruction in a way that improves results and makes the breast look more natural.
What options exist for patients who want to use their own tissue for breast reconstruction?
Options depend on whether a patient has excess tissue, especially around the stomach, that can be used for reconstruction.
How long is recovery after mastectomy and reconstruction?
Recovery depends on the procedure. It usually takes two to four weeks before a patient can go back to light work or a desk job.
How do I find the right doctors?
It’s best to find doctors who work as a team, typically an oncologist, plastic reconstructive surgeon and breast surgeon. We can help you continue to have a full, beautiful life and put cancer in the past.
Will a patient need surgery on the healthy breast to achieve symmetry?
It depends on the kind of reconstruction performed. When we look at implant-based reconstruction, many times the other breast needs something done to make it look symmetrical. When we use a patient’s tissue, we have more opportunities to make the breast look like the natural breast. It’s important to discuss these concerns with your doctor.