Content reviewed by Dr. Christopher Chang
Although the incidence of breast cancer in the U.S. has been decreasing since the year 2000, it is still the most commonly-diagnosed cancer among women in America other than skin cancer. Many women diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer in one breast are choosing to undergo contralateral prophylactic mastectomy (double-mastectomy) to eliminate the possibility of developing cancer in the other breast. The double-mastectomy rate has more than tripled in the past decade.
After breast cancer treatment with lumpectomy, mastectomy, or double-mastectomy, many women elect to have breast reconstruction surgery to restore their breasts. With advanced surgical techniques today, women have options and impressive results can be achieved with breast reconstruction procedures. Dr. Chang prides himself on delivering excellent results to his Washington DC breast reconstruction patients.
If you are facing breast cancer surgery or have already undergone the procedure, you may be searching for a surgeons that you can trust to reconstruct your breasts. Dr. Christopher C. Chang is a highly trained, board-certified plastic surgeon with extensive experience in plastic surgery of the breast. After a consultation and careful evaluation, Dr. Chang can advise you of the most effective surgical method of breast reconstruction procedure for you.
What is Breast Reconstruction?
Breast reconstruction is surgery to restore your breasts after breast cancer surgery. It may be performed during or soon after mastectomy or lumpectomy, or months or even years later. In this procedure, Dr. Chang will use a breast implant or a flap of tissue from another area of your body, or both, to recreate and restore the natural shape of your breast.
Reconstructing the Breast
Reconstructing the breast may involve several procedures performed at different stages. Reconstruction may be initiated at the time of your cancer surgery, or at a later date. Dr. Chang takes a comprehensive approach to patient treatment, considering the big picture as well as any current treatment for better patient health, safety, and outcomes.
Types of Breast Reconstruction Surgery
Dr. Chang will design an individual surgical plan for your breast reconstruction, using the most appropriate techniques, or a combination, to achieve the most attractive, natural-looking results. The two main types of breast reconstruction surgery are:
Saline or silicone implants are placed to restore the size and shape of your breasts. This procedure can be performed in two different ways:
- Direct-to-Implant Reconstruction:
At the time the mastectomy is done, after the cancer surgeon removes the breast tissue, Dr. Chang will place the implant, usually under the pectoral muscle of the chest. Absorbable mesh or a special tissue graft is used to define the breast shape and hold the implant in place.
- Two-stage Reconstruction:
A tissue expander is inserted at the time of the mastectomy – a balloon-like sac that is gradually expanded to allow the skin to stretch over a period of approximately 2 to 3 months. When the skin is sufficiently stretched, a second surgery is performed to remove the expander and place the implant.
Tissue Flap Procedures
A flap of tissue from another part of your body, such as the abdomen, thighs, buttocks, or back, is used to reconstruct the shape of your breast. There are a number of different tissue flap surgical techniques. This surgery can be performed in combination with implants in some cases.
Depending on the type and extent of cancer surgery, your anatomy, and your personal treatment goals, Dr. Christopher C. Chang can custom-tailor a Washington DC breast reconstruction plan to help you restore your breasts, and your confidence after a mastectomy.
Breast reconstruction is a custom surgery performed to create a breast mound after a mastectomy, or to correct a deformity or breast irregularities left from a lumpectomy. Breast reconstruction may be performed with implants or live tissue transfer. It may be performed in stages or in the same surgery as a mastectomy.
Life after breast cancer
Losing one or both breasts to treat breast cancer is necessary but often has a powerful emotional impact. Many women choose to undergo breast reconstruction surgery as one of the final steps in achieving a full recovery.
What is recovery like after breast reconstruction?
Recovery will vary widely based on many factors, including:
- Type of procedure(s) performed
- Number of stages
- Size of implants
- Extent of changes needed
You will likely wear a bandage or surgical bra during the first couple weeks of healing. You should also refrain from strenuous exercise for up to eight weeks. Dr. Chang will review your specific condition and recovery steps following your surgery.
How much does breast reconstruction cost?
Like many other aspects of breast reconstruction, your final cost will vary based on many factors. The extent of your reconstruction procedures is the driving factor behind cost, though it can also be influenced by the types of surgery needed, the length of your stay in the facility, and many others. Breast reconstruction procedures performed during or after a mastectomy, will be covered by your health insurance under the Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act.
Why is Dr. Chang a good resource for breast reconstruction?
Dr. Christopher Chang is a highly skilled surgeon with years of education, experience, and training. He has trained at the Institute for Reconstructive Plastic Surgery in New York, so he understands the intricacies of advanced breast reconstruction surgery. He is a compassionate, board-certified plastic surgeon who personalizes each patient’s care to their unique situation. If you need breast reconstruction surgery, look no further than Dr. Christopher Chang.
Breast Reconstruction Frequently Asked Questions
When will I see the results of my breast reconstruction procedure?
It can take up to two months to see the final results of your breast reconstruction. Your skin will stretch over time to accommodate the implant, leading to a natural position that’s not too high or too low. Any incision lines will continue to fade over time, and you will be able to enjoy beautiful, symmetrical breasts.
Will I have visible scarring?
Whenever possible, Dr. Chang hides incisions in the natural folds and contours of the chest. He takes great care to reduce the risk of uneven or unnatural healing so that the scar heals down to a thin line. You will also receive aftercare instructions that will help you reduce the risk of visible scarring.
What are the benefits of breast reconstruction?
After a traumatic experience of being diagnosed and treated for breast cancer, breast reconstruction is a vital aspect of a full recover. There are many benefits to reconstruction surgery, including:
- Even, symmetrical breasts
- Breasts that are proportional to your figure
- Restored self-confidence
Breast reconstruction surgery can give women a positive outlook on life after winning the battle against breast cancer. Look no further than Dr. Chang for your breast reconstruction procedure.
"I have never felt so confident. Dr. Chang completely changed how I saw myself in the mirror. I was terribly self conscious of my nose from my youth and finally decided to go through with the surgery. Not only was it inexpensive compared to the other three doctors I contacted, the before and after pictures of patients were also much better looking than the others! The whole process of surgery and recovery was quick and pretty much painless. I would definitely recommend him to anyone wanting cosmetic surgery. It really made me a happier person." - Catherine M.
"My son was in a terrible accident with most of the bones in his face and skull broken... I don't know what I would have done without Dr Chang!! My son is fully recovered and back to his old self again. I love Dr Chang, he will be in my prayers for the rest of my life. Thank you!" - Elizabeth A.
"I cannot say enough about my surgery with Dr. Chang! I had full facial Rejuvenation including a facelift brow lift and upper eyelids done 4 months ago. I also had a chemical peel to my lower eyelids and mouth. They was barely any pain and I was back to work the next week! I am so thrilled and my friends are so impressed. I cannot say enough about my experience! He is both caring and an amazing surgeon! Thank you so much!" - Cathy W.
The entire experience and outcome was everything I hoped for and I cannot thank Dr. Chang enough! He is a true pro and I recommend 100% without reservation!" - Ashley R.
"I went to Dr. Chang to correct the damage done to my breasts from pregnancy and breastfeeding. He went above and beyond to make me comfortable and to explain exactly what the procedures (lift + implants) would entail. He was extremely responsive and truly understood the look that I was trying to achieve - full, natural for my frame, and with minimal scarring. I'm only two days out from surgery and I'm already loving my results. I am so glad that I chose Dr. Chang to restore my chest to its pre-baby appearance. I actually think they are going to be better than they ever were before I had kids!" - Emily L.