Breast Reconstruction Program
Breast reconstruction can be an empowering option for women seeking to restore their body image after breast surgery. For many women, breast reconstruction symbolizes the return to wellness at the end of a difficult journey.
What Is Breast Reconstruction?
Breast reconstruction refers to a variety of plastic surgery procedures that restore the breast's shape, appearance or symmetry following breast surgery, including mastectomy or lumpectomy. The surgery can also be performed to correct breast abnormalities.
Reconstructive breast surgery is typically performed in three stages. Although you can choose to begin reconstruction at any time, the best results are achieved at the time of surgery. At El Camino Health, our breast reconstruction experts are well versed in all the latest surgical techniques and procedures — from preventive mastectomies to sophisticated reconstructive techniques.
Only you can decide if breast reconstruction is right for you. There are a number of different factors and techniques to consider when choosing breast reconstruction. It’s important to talk with your doctor or a reconstructive surgeon to learn about your options, as not all women are candidates for breast reconstruction surgery. It’s also helpful to learn what you can expect before, during and after your breast reconstruction surgery.
Advances in Breast Reconstruction
Oncoplastic surgery is a new specialty that combines oncology and plastic surgery. It has led to some of today's advanced breast reconstruction approaches that provide women with less invasive options, better scar placement and improved cosmetic results.
Breast cancer treatment is evolving in ways that also help facilitate reconstruction, including:
- Initial mastectomy techniques. New surgical techniques during the initial mastectomy reduce scarring and assist in later reconstruction.
- One-stage reconstruction. Single-stage reconstruction allows surgeons to perform both mastectomy and breast reconstruction in a single surgery.
- Lymph nodes sparing. When fewer lymph nodes are removed to check for the spread of cancer, it can reduce the incidence of lymphedema, or swelling in your arms and legs.
- Skin and nipple sparing. Whenever possible, surgeons save skin and nipples to provide a more natural reconstruction.
- Implant technology. Advances in implant technology create a more natural appearance.
- Improved healing. Newer technologies result in less scarring and fewer complications.
The Women's Health and Cancer Rights Act of 1998 (WHCRA) requires all health plans that cover mastectomies to include post-mastectomy and reconstructive surgery benefits. As a result, most health insurance policies cover breast reconstruction. The specific procedures and amount of coverage varies by policy. If you’ve had a breast removed or damaged due to illness or injury, check with your insurance provider for the specifics of your particular policy.