What is Implant-Based Breast Reconstruction?
Implant-based breast reconstruction or breast restoration is a delicately balanced combination of both cosmetic and reconstructive surgeries. This intricate procedure by our board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon, Dr. Pierre Chevray, combines art and science, down to the tiniest detail. Dr. Chevray embraces this specialized niche as his area of expertise. With more than 1,000 breast reconstruction procedures to his credit, Dr. Chevray’s experience in this arena is beyond compare.
At your consultation with Dr. Chevray, he will explain that there are four points that are important for you to understand about his process for breast reconstruction. First, the realistic goal of breast reconstruction is to have the breasts appear normal and symmetric while you are wearing clothing. Without clothing, it is usually obvious that the reconstructed breast is not a natural breast. However, while wearing clothing, the expectation is that your breasts will appear normal and symmetric. No one should suspect that you had a mastectomy. Secondly, your implant-based breast reconstruction will take at least two surgeries (with a 3 – 4-night stay at the hospital). The second surgery may involve saline or silicone implant placement and/or nipple reconstruction. Third, all surgeries have risks. We will explain the risks to you during your consultation. Finally, breast reconstruction is not required. If you feel that an external breast prosthesis is a better fit for you, we will honor your decision. We do, however, want you to have all the information you need to make an educated choice. Scheduling a consultation at our office is the first step toward finalizing this chapter in your life. Learn more about implant-based breast reconstruction in our Houston, TX practice today.
Implant-Based Reconstruction Reviews
"Just wanted to give an update about my recent breast reconstruction surgery. In February, I completed the second part of surgery (nipple placement) and minor smoothing of the breast. When I say minor, I mean minor, which speaks to the level of precision and excellence of Dr. Chevray's work. With both surgeries I was back in the gym working out within a month (of course with Dr. Chevray's clearance). Dr. Chevray is very precise and I am so thankful for him and his lovely team."- Anonymous / Healthgrades / Mar 30, 2018
"Dr Pierre Chevray and his staff have been caring for me for four years, since I was first diagnosed with breast cancer. He performed my initial reconstruction and he also did a revision - needed due to complications from chemotherapy. Dr Chevray is an amazing surgeon. I am thrilled with the results of my surgery. He is caring, compassionate, and incredibly competent. His staff is wonderful, particularly his nurse Carol, who is knowledgeable and very kind. I would not trust my care to anyone else. If you're looking for a surgeon, you've found him! I give Dr Chevray the highest possible recommendation."- S.B. / Yelp / Nov 16, 2019
"Dr Chevray and his staff are the best. I had breast reconstruction after mastectomy. The kindness and compassion he and his entire staff showed to me is phenomenal. I could not be more pleased with how my breasts look now. I highly recommend Dr Chevray. He answers questions directly and compassionately. His surgical skills are top notch I could go on and on about how wonderful he and his staff are."- Anonymous / RateMDs / Jan 31, 2020
"Dr Chevray, Patrick and Carol were all wonderful, sympathetic and caring. All my questions were answered, they gave me plenty of time and I am very pleased with my results. After my cancer they were very quick to respond and made sure I understood everything that was happening."- Anonymous / Healthgrades / Jan 31, 2020
"I was referred to Dr Chevray at one of the most scariest times of my life. I was diagnosed with breast cancer and was having a mastectomy. He is who I chose to do the reconstruction. What I love most is that Dr Chevray is direct, compassionate, and he cares about not just perfect results, but me as a person. My recovery was a little bumpy, but Dr Chevray, Patrick and Carol were all awesome. They kept in constant contact with me, calmed my nerves and eased my fears. I would highly recommend Dr Chevray to anyone that needs surgery. I really can’t say enough about how wonderful he and his staff are. Wendi Brinsfield"- W.B. / Google / Jan 31, 2020
Who QUALIFIES FOR IMPLANT-BASED RECONSTRUCTION?
There are two types of implant-based breast reconstruction surgeries you may be a candidate for at Chevray Plastic Surgery. You have to make the decision to have a delayed or immediate breast reconstruction consultation if:
- You do not need radiation treatments after receiving your implant (as this can cause issues with the implant)
- You have no objections undergoing implants for both breasts to achieve symmetry and balance
An immediate implant breast reconstruction will be performed in tandem with your mastectomy. Dr. Chevray will work with your oncologist, breast surgeon, and any other members of your medical team to give you the best overall care. This type of surgery will take about six weeks to heal. There may be other secondary surgeries to follow, such as nipple reconstruction or implant revision.
If you are considering a delayed implant reconstruction, the good news is that you have already healed from the mastectomy. Your implant-based breast reconstruction using a tissue expander will have a shorter recovery period of about two weeks. There will likely be additional surgeries after the tissue expander and implant placement surgeries take place.
Our surgical techniques
Chevray Plastic Surgery offers two types of implant-based breast reconstructions:
Women who have direct-to-implant breast reconstruction with implants must have the right conditions for this procedure to succeed. There has to be enough room for an implant to fit and skin thick enough to appropriately cover the breast securely. After your breast surgeon has successfully removed all the cancerous breast tissue, Dr. Chevray will insert a silicone or saline implant underneath the pectoral muscle. Direct-to-implant breast reconstruction will add about 1 – 2 hours in the operating room. If the nipple is spared, he will need to address that as well.
Tissue expander and implant (staged)
The tissue expander method can be performed in immediate or delayed breast reconstruction. By placing a surgical balloon filled with saline within your breasts (above or under your pectoral muscle), Dr. Chevray can gradually create space for a breast implant over time. He will close the incisions until the next surgery. In the following months, you will visit Dr. Chevray consistently for him to inject a saline solution into the expander. This will stretch the tissue to make a "pocket" for a breast implant to safely fit. Once you have reached the desired size, you can have surgery to have the tissue expander removed and the saline or silicone breast implant inserted. You may also need to have other aesthetic adjustments to be addressed in this second surgery as well.
Your implant-Based Breast Reconstruction Recovery
An implant-based breast reconstruction performed at the time of your mastectomy will take six weeks or more for recovery. You can expect swelling and discomfort right after the surgery. Managing your pain with medication, massages, and a supportive bra will be vitally important. You will need to come in for regular follow-up appointments so we can check your progress. It is necessary to follow all aftercare instructions carefully and not participate in strenuous activities until Dr. Chevray releases you to do so.
For delayed implant-based breast reconstruction and tissue expander, the healing process will take about two weeks. You will already be healed from the mastectomy if you have a delayed procedure. However, it is still important to avoid strenuous activity for a few weeks following the surgery. He will give you specific instructions to care for yourself. We will also schedule follow-up appointments to ensure your healing process goes smoothly and to add saline to your tissue expander if needed.
FAQs for Breast Reconstruction with implants
Are breast implant replacements still covered by insurance as a breast reconstruction surgery?
At any time in the future that you need to have a breast reconstruction revision surgery, by law, your insurance company cannot deny you coverage because of the Women's Health and Cancer Rights Act of 1998. If you need to have a breast implant removed or replaced, it will be considered part of your treatment after breast cancer. Breast implants do not last forever. Revision surgery to change out your implants will be a necessary procedure in the future for your health.
Which type of breast implant is the best to use for breast reconstruction?
You will make that decision with Dr. Chevray during your consultation. The breast implant that is right for you may not be right for someone else. This is determined on a case-by-case basis.
How do I prepare for breast reconstruction with implants?
To mentally and physically prepare yourself for stages of breast reconstruction can feel like an overwhelming venture. We advise our patients to take the time to learn as much about the procedures as possible and ask Dr. Chevray and/or his medical team questions when you have them. We are your best resource for preparing for surgery. You will have pre-op instructions to follow once your treatment plan is in place. Of course, we encourage you to take care of yourself and to have realistic expectations of the reconstructive process. If you are a smoker, Dr. Chevray will ask you to stop smoking. He will not perform breast reconstruction on a patient who actively smokes because it is not only unhealthy, but it can also impede the healing process. Your body will need to be strong, and smoking derails your health.
Let's Prepare for Breast Reconstruction Together
Having an experienced, board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon (like Dr. Chevray), a strong support system, and information about your surgeries are essential to your health. Chevray Plastic Surgery can help you make an informed decision about your breast reconstruction without pressuring you to have surgery. The choice is yours, and we want to give you well-planned options. To learn more about your breast reconstruction process, contact our Houston, TX office to schedule your consultation today.