New York Breast Revision

Breast Fat Grafting and Reconstruction in New York

Breast cancer is frightening and personally devastating. Thanks to early detection methods, life-threatening cases of breast cancer can be successfully treated, leaving patients healthy, but without breasts. The thought of losing your breasts may make your worry that you will no longer look and feel feminine or be desirable.

Breast reconstruction surgery after mastectomy – it is your right.

Thankfully, federal law requires that health insurance companies cover breast reconstruction – which should be planned for undergoing a mastectomy. In some cases, the breast reconstruction procedure, such as breast augmentation surgery or breast implant revision, can be performed in the same surgical appointment as the mastectomy. Other breast reconstruction procedures, like breast augmentation revision surgery or breast implant revision surgery, may be delayed. A sometimes complex but incredible procedure for restoring breast tissue lost in cancer treatment, breast reconstruction is a critical aspect of emotional healing. Board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Helen Allison is a leading breast reconstruction surgeon and honored to be involved in your journey to better health and a confident, happy life. This may involve addressing painful scar tissue, previous breast augmentation, breast implant removal, or the use of silicone implants in breast revision surgeries, all of which can play a crucial role in achieving your desired results through plastic surgery.
breast revision

What is Breast Revision Surgery?

Breast revision surgery, often performed under general anesthesia, refers to procedures designed to correct or improve the results of a prior breast surgery. It can involve various aspects such as removing or replacing breast implants, addressing complications like ruptured implants, or even enhancing the aesthetic look of the breasts through procedures like breast reduction. The reasons for seeking a revision surgery are varied and may include unsatisfactory outcomes from prior surgery, changes in personal preferences, or addressing implant material concerns. This outpatient procedure is suitable for most patients, especially those who are candidates for breast revision seeking a more natural and desirable breast appearance.

Why Might Mothers Specifically Need Breast Revision?

Let’s look closer at why mothers, in particular, might seek breast revision surgery, which could involve a surgical plan to address changes post-pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Changes Post-Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

During pregnancy, hormones like estrogen and progesterone surge, leading to the enlargement of the mammary glands in preparation for breastfeeding. Post-delivery and during breastfeeding, the breasts are further subjected to changes as they fill and empty with milk. Once breastfeeding is discontinued, the breasts often reduce in size, potentially leading to sagging or a deflated appearance that may necessitate the removal of implants or considering new implant options, such as larger implants, to address the changes in breast size and contour. These adjustments are essential for achieving the desired results and reducing swelling while taking into account the patient’s current implant and chest wall structure.
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Aging and Gravity

The Inevitable Effects of Time

As a woman ages, the collagen and elastin in her skin begin to break down, reducing elasticity. The skin’s natural support system weakens, which, combined with the constant pull of gravity, results in sagging.

Combined Impact with Motherhood

The natural aging process and the effects of pregnancy and breastfeeding can accentuate sagging. The implant’s weight and these factors can lead to a pronounced sag for mothers with implants, making a breast lift or revision appealing or even necessary.

aging

Impact on Previous Breast Surgeries

For mothers who had breast augmentation or other surgeries before childbirth, these post-pregnancy shifts can result in unexpected aesthetics. Implants might now appear disproportionate, or the natural breast tissue might sag around a previously placed implant, leading to an asymmetrical appearance.

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Implant Complications

Recognizing the Signs: Implant complications can arise regardless of motherhood, but they’re crucial to understand and identify. Signs like visible rippling, hardening of the breast, or sudden asymmetry can point towards issues.

Common Concerns:

  • Implant Rupture
  • Capsular Contracture
  • Implant Displacement

Recognizing these complications early and consulting with a qualified surgeon can ensure timely intervention and minimize health risks.

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Deciding on the Right Time for Revision

Why Timing is Crucial for Mothers

Here’s why:

  • Pregnancy Impact: The breasts naturally swell during pregnancy due to hormonal changes, which could change the positioning or appearance of implants.
  • Breastfeeding Considerations: Breastfeeding can cause the breasts to enlarge and then reduce in size once lactation stops, potentially impacting the aesthetic look and feel of previous augmentations.

Factors to Consider Before Deciding on Timing

  • Completed Family Planning: If you’re considering having more children, it might be wise to delay revision surgery. It ensures you won’t need repeated revisions after each pregnancy.
  • Breastfeeding Duration: It’s generally recommended to consider a revision at least six months after you’ve stopped breastfeeding. It allows the breasts to return to their post-lactation size and shape.
  • Personal Recovery Time: Everyone’s body recovers differently. Before scheduling a revision, ensure you can allocate ample time for post-operative care without the immediate demands of childcare or newborn care.
  • Health Status: Ensure you are in optimal health before undergoing a revision. Any existing medical conditions or concerns should be discussed with your surgeon beforehand.

Other Influential Factors

  • Implant Lifespan: Most implants aren’t designed to last a lifetime. Consider a check-up or potential revision if you’ve had your implants for over a decade.
  • Personal Satisfaction: If you’re unhappy with the appearance or feel of your breasts, regardless of the reason, it might be time to consider a revision.
  • Physical Discomfort: If you experience pain, discomfort, or any unusual symptoms around your breast area, this could be a sign that a revision is necessary sooner rather than later.

Autologous breast reconstruction

Autologous reconstruction uses your own tissue to form a new breast mound. The most common flap used by Dr. Helen Allison in breast reconstruction is called the “DIEP free flap.” Excess skin and fat are taken from the lower abdomen, leaving the blood vessels attached, and transferred to the chest connected to the internal mammary vessels.

The DIEP free flap’s advantage is that the muscles and nerves are spared; it delivers a natural-looking and feeling breast. As part of the recovery process, each patient will be placed in a physical therapy protocol. Physical therapy, proper rest, and nutrition help you achieve the best recovery. There is a surprising added advantage – you will also have a slimmer, trimmer lower abdomen after the tissue is harvested and moved to create your breast. 

Implant-based breast reconstruction

At one time, there was only a single breast reconstruction option: Implant-based reconstruction. Unlike the autologous reconstruction options, implant reconstruction uses an implant to restore volume and shape. Dr. Helen Allison will first insert tissue expanders either above or below the muscle. When placed above the muscle, the expander is wrapped in Alloderm, a supporting medical mesh to hold the implant securely in place.

This FDA-approved material makes it possible to have tissue coverage for the implant to be placed—the more tissue covering the implant, the smoother and more natural the result. If the tissue expander is placed beneath the chest muscle, the chest muscle will be elevated, with the Alloderm placed to support the implant’s position.

TMG or Tug Flap breast reconstruction

Another common autologous reconstruction is the TMG or Tug flap. In this method, skin and fat or skin, fat and muscle are removed from the inner thigh. The flap is then transferred up to the chest and connected to the internal mammary blood vessels. Compared to the DIEP flap, the downside of this method is that it leaves a scar on the inner thigh, which may be harder to hide than one on the abdomen. Also, the recovery may be slightly longer.

Types of Breast Revision Procedures

Implant Exchange

The longevity of breast implants, whether saline or silicone, is not infinite. Over time, implants can change in shape, size, or texture. Some women might also want a different look as they age or their preferences evolve.

  • Purpose: An implant exchange is intended for women who have previously undergone breast augmentation but wish to change their implants. It could be due to cosmetic reasons, complications, or the natural aging of the implant.
  • Procedure: During the surgery, the surgeon removes the old implants and replaces them with new ones. Depending on the patient’s wishes, the new implants could be of the same size, more significant, smaller, or of a different material.
  • Recovery: Recovery time is often comparable to the initial augmentation, though it can be shorter if the implant pocket does not need alteration.

Implant Removal

  • Purpose: Implant removal is ideal for those who no longer wish to have breast implants without the intention of replacing them.
  • Procedure: The surgeon removes the implants, ensuring minimal scarring and disruption to the surrounding tissues. Additional functions like a breast lift might be recommended depending on the condition of the breasts after removal.
  • Recovery: Generally, recovery from implant removal is quicker than after an augmentation. However, the patient may need a compression garment to minimize swelling and support healing.

Capsulectomy

  • Purpose: Capsulectomy is recommended for patients experiencing capsular contracture, where the scar tissue tightens around the implant, causing pain or changing the breast’s shape.
  • Procedure: The surgeon removes the scar tissue surrounding the implant. Depending on the situation, the implant may be replaced or removed.
  • Recovery: The recovery period for a capsulectomy can vary. It depends on whether the procedure was combined with other surgeries, like an implant exchange or removal.

Breast Lift (Mastopexy)

  • Purpose: Mastopexy is ideal for women experiencing droopiness or sagging in their breasts, aiming for an elevated and firmer breast profile.
  • Procedure: Excess skin is removed, and breast tissue is reshaped and lifted. If needed, the nipple and areola can be repositioned. Depending on the patient’s desires and needs, the procedure can be combined with an implant exchange or removal.
  • Recovery: Recovery from a breast lift typically involves swelling and discomfort for a few days. Strenuous activity should be avoided for several weeks, and supportive bras should be worn to aid healing.

The Recovery Process

Embracing the Surgical Bra or Compression Garment

  • Support the Breasts: This helps in reducing movement, which can be uncomfortable and even detrimental in the early stages of recovery.
  • Minimize Swelling: Compression reduces the buildup of fluids, aiding in faster healing.
  • Shape and Position: Over time, these garments help the breasts settle into their new position, ensuring the desired aesthetic outcome.

The Importance of Limiting Physical Activity

  • Avoiding Complications: Excessive movement can risk opening surgical incisions, leading to infections or prolonged healing.
  • Ensuring Aesthetic Outcomes: Vigorous activity can disrupt the settling of implants or the newly sculpted breast tissue.
  • Listening to Your Body: Understanding that every patient’s recovery timeline is unique is essential. Some might feel ready for light activities sooner than others, but always consult your surgeon before making any decisions.

The Significance of Post-Operative Check-ups

  • Track Healing Progress: The surgeon can gauge your healing well and guide or modify your recovery plan.
  • Address Concerns: Any discomfort, unusual changes, or uncertainties can be discussed, ensuring peace of mind.
  • Plan Ahead: If additional treatments or procedures are recommended, these check-ups are the perfect time to discuss and plan for them.

Monitoring for Signs of Complications

  • Recognize Symptoms: Unusual swelling, excessive pain, heat at the incision site, or any discharge should be noted.
  • Maintain Open Communication: If any symptoms arise, it’s crucial to contact your surgeon immediately. Early detection and intervention can prevent more severe complications.
  • Stay Informed: Before leaving the hospital or surgical center, ensure you have a comprehensive list of potential warning signs and the necessary steps to take if they appear.

The Importance of Choosing a Qualified Surgeon

Complexities of Breast Revision

Breast revision procedure is not a one-size-fits-all operation. Given that it’s intended to modify or correct previous surgeries, it often presents complexities that a primary breast augmentation does not. Surgeons must work with scar tissue, understand past procedures, and ensure adjustments align with the patient’s goals, such as a personalized treatment plan that considers various reasons for the revision, including shell leaks, weight loss, or the desire for larger or smaller implants, which can vary depending on the individual’s good health and ideal candidates for the procedure.

Credentials Matter

Being board-certified means that the surgeon has met the rigorous standards set by the medical board in terms of training, skills, and expertise. It’s not merely a title – it’s proof of commitment to the craft. A board-certified plastic surgeon undergoes years of specialized training in reconstructive and cosmetic surgeries, making them highly recommendable for initial breast augmentation and subsequent revision procedures.

Understanding Mothers

Each woman’s body reacts differently to childbirth and breastfeeding. A surgeon experienced in breast revisions for mothers will have an intimate understanding of the typical post-pregnancy changes and how best to address them. They’ll also be more in tune with the emotional aspects, offering support and guidance tailored to moms returning to normal activities after the procedure.

Before-and-After Portfolio

A reputable surgeon will typically have a portfolio showcasing their work. These before-and-after photos offer insight into their aesthetic sense, skill level, and consistency. It provides potential patients with a visual understanding of what to expect and ensures that the surgeon’s style aligns with their desired outcome. It’s especially valuable for those considering New York breast revision for various reasons, such as implants may have changed over time.

Personalized Consultations

During consultations, a dedicated surgeon will take the time to understand your goals, concerns, and medical history. They’ll provide expert recommendations tailored to your body and desired outcome rather than a generic approach. This personalized attention can make all the difference in the surgery’s success and your satisfaction, whether you are an ideal candidate or have experienced issues like shell leaks.

Facility Quality and Team Expertise

Beyond the surgeon’s qualifications, consider where the surgery will take place. Accredited facilities ensure safety standards are met, and a skilled team can support the surgeon throughout the procedure, providing an additional layer of safety and expertise, allowing patients to return to work and normal activities with confidence.

Costs and Financing Options

Breaking Down the Costs

  • Initial Consultation at Wesley Chapel: Your breast revision journey often begins with an initial consultation, where you can discuss your specific needs, whether it involves addressing capsular contracture, breast reconstruction, or implants removed for many reasons.
  • Surgical Fees
  • Anesthesia and Operating Room Fees
  • Post-operative Care

Insurance Considerations

  • Capsular Contracture
  • Implant Rupture
  • Breast Health Concerns

Financing and Payment Plans

  • In-house Financing: Some practices have financing plans that allow patients to pay in installments, making it easier to afford new breast implants or a breast revision procedure.
  • Medical Credit Cards: These are credit cards specifically designed for medical expenses, often offering promotional interest rates for specific periods, which can be helpful for covering costs related to breast health concerns.
  • Personal Loans: Some patients opt for loans through banks or online lenders. It can be a suitable option if you have good credit and need to address capsular contracture or other breast-related issues.
  • Layaway Plans: Some practices let patients pay for the procedure over time before surgery, which can be a practical solution for those considering breast revision for various reasons.

Hidden Costs and Being Prepared

While your surgeon will provide an estimate, it’s essential to factor in potential hidden costs like:
  • Revision or Touch-ups: Not everyday, but a secondary procedure might be necessary, which can affect the overall cost of your breast revision journey.
  • Time off Work: Depending on your job, you might need unpaid leave during recovery, impacting your finances during the healing process.
  • Post-operative Needs: Special bras, lymphatic massages, or physiotherapy sessions, depending on individual requirements, can be additional expenses to consider when planning for breast revision.

The Emotional Impact of Breast Revision

Rediscovering Self-confidence

For many women, breasts are intricately linked to femininity and self-image. When one undergoes a New York breast revision, it’s often a journey back to self-confidence. Whether addressing a botched surgery or choosing to better align with one’s ideal self-image, the surge of confidence post-procedure can be life-altering.

Addressing Past Dissatisfaction

Sometimes, the need for a breast revision stems from an initial surgery that didn’t yield the desired outcome. Living with that dissatisfaction can weigh heavily on one’s psyche. Revision offers a chance to rectify past regrets, granting emotional closure and a renewed sense of contentment.

Emotional Preparedness and Expectations

However, it’s pivotal to understand that while breast revision can offer significant emotional relief, it’s not a magic wand. Setting realistic expectations is crucial. Speak candidly with your surgeon about anticipated outcomes and potential limitations. This way, the post-surgical experience aligns closely with expectations, mitigating potential disappointments.

The Role of a Strong Support System

One should not do anything in isolation on a breast revision journey. Surrounding oneself with supportive friends, family, or support groups can make the process smoother. They offer emotional bolstering during recovery, assist with practical needs, and provide a listening ear for concerns or fears.

Emotional Healing and Patience

While the physical scars of surgery might heal in weeks to months, the emotional recalibration can take longer. It’s common for patients to go through myriad feelings—from joy to doubt—post-surgery. Recognizing that emotional healing is a journey and being patient with oneself during this time is paramount.

The Impact on Relationships

Breast revision, like any personal decision about one’s body, can have ripple effects on intimate relationships. Partners might need time to adjust to the change, or they might have their own set of emotions about the procedure. Open communication with loved ones, sharing reasons for the surgery, and discussing shared anxieties can strengthen bonds and foster understanding.

Seeking Professional Guidance

If, at any point, the emotional journey becomes overwhelming, seeking professional guidance from therapists or counselors specializing in body image or post-surgical feelings can be invaluable. They offer tools and strategies to navigate emotional challenges, ensuring a holistic healing process.

The Role of Non-Surgical Procedures in Enhancing Breast Revision Outcomes

Fat Grafting

Fat grafting, also known as autologous fat transfer, involves harvesting fat from one part of the body, purifying it, and then injecting it into another area, in this case, the breasts. It provides a natural feel, and there’s no risk of allergic reactions since the material (fat) is sourced from the patient’s body. This procedure addresses minor volume discrepancies or enhances breasts’ softness and natural look post-implant surgery.

Dermal Fillers

Dermal fillers are gel-like substances, often based on hyaluronic acid, that can be injected beneath the skin to restore lost volume, smooth lines, or enhance contours. Though more commonly known for facial applications, certain fillers can be used around the breast and chest area to smooth out irregularities, enhance cleavage, or refine the results of a previous surgical procedure.

Radiofrequency and Ultrasound Treatments

These treatments use energy-based devices to stimulate collagen production in the skin, leading to a firmer, more youthful appearance. For patients who experience mild sagging or skin laxity post-breast surgery, these treatments can provide a non-invasive lift, making the skin appear taut and rejuvenated.

Scar Treatments

Many options are available to address scarring post-surgery, from silicone gel sheets and laser treatments to micro-needling and chemical peels. By reducing the appearance of scars, these treatments can make the results of a breast revision or any breast surgery look more seamless and natural.

Two decades of service to breast cancer survivors in New York

As a surgeon who has worked with breast cancer patients for the past two decades, our surgeons are particularly sensitive to your needs. She recognizes this is a very vulnerable and frightening time in your life. Her job is to be there for you in whatever capacity necessary, side-by-side, on every step of your journey through breast reconstruction.