About Breast Reconstruction
Surgical breast reconstruction is performed to restore the chest to a normal appearance in shape and size after a mastectomy or lumpectomy. It is also an option to restore a breast damaged by trauma or a birth defect. New techniques in breast reconstruction surgery make it possible for you to feel complete and attain natural-looking breasts, even after they have been removed. This surgery can include a few procedures and various stages that can either be performed at the same time as your cancer treatment or delayed until a later date. Atlanta, GA plastic surgeon Dr. Marisa Lawrence creates an individualized treatment plan and uses a compassionate approach as we work with you to restore your appearance and confidence at Marisa Lawrence Plastic Surgery. Dr. Lawrence is double board certified and fellowship trained and serves as one of the greatest female surgeons in Georgia. We look forward to exceeding your expectations and helping you to meet your goals.
Breast Reconstruction Reviews
"AMAZING DOCTOR - I WAS REFERRED TO DR. LAWRENCE BY A FRIEND AND FIRST WENT TO HER FOR A SECOND OPINION ON A BREAST RECONSTRUCTION SURGERY THAT I HAD WHICH FAILED. I AM SO GLAD I DID. TODAY I AM A DIFFERENT PERSON. NOT ONLY HAVE I COMPLETED MY BREAST RECONSTRUCTION BUT I HAVE HAD A TOTAL BODY MAKEOVER. THIS HAS CHANGED MY LIFE. NOT A DAY GOES BY THAT I DO NOT HEAR HOW AMAZING I LOOK AND I OWE IT ALL TO DR. LAWRENCE. I HAVE REFERRED HER TO MANY FRIENDS AND FAMILY. SHE AND HER STAFF ARE THE MOST CARING, COMPASSIONATE TEAM AND I CAN'T PRAISE THEM ENOUGH. THANK YOU DR. LAWRENCE AND YOUR AMAZING STAFF FOR HELPING ME OVER THE PAST 7 YEAR. YOUR THE BEST!"- Anonymous / Vitals / Jun 29, 2010
"I have been a patient of Dr. Lawrence since 2001 when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I had originally gone to another plastic surgeon who had done my initial surgery but after 6 weeks in and living a nightmare when I looked in the mirror, I went to Dr. Lawrence for a second opinion. I was told that what had been done would not work and within 2 weeks she was correct. Before I was diagnosed with cancer I had also lost 180 lbs and was left with a tremendous amount of skin. This was a good thing but because of the double mastectomy and the extra skin I was in bad shape. Dr. Lawrence took the time when she did my reconstruction to take care of the excess skin and leave me with a natural result. She has totally changed my body. In 2010 I had my final breast reconstruction and I now have all natural, no implants, breasts reconstructed with my own skin and for the first time in my life I was able to wear sleeveless shirts and dresses as she removed all of the excess skin from my arms. She is not only my doctor but she is my friend and she has changed my life."- B.E. / Google / Jan 15, 2014
"Dr. Marisa Lawrence - Breast Reconstruction and Slim Lipo Chin - Atlanta, GA - Dr. Lawrence's office is great - she is knowledgeable and keeps up with new products and procedures - she listens and gives good advice and suggestions for the desired result. Her nurse, Lisa, is equally competent and caring. The non-medical office staff is great, too - efficient, professional, and kind. I can always call and speak to someone or get a call-back quickly. I can't say enough good things about this practice."- R.H. / RealSelf / May 23, 2013
Breast reconstruction is a very personalized procedure. Every patient will have a thorough consultation with Dr. Lawrence to create their treatment plan based on their needs, concerns, and appropriate options. If you are planning to have breast reconstruction surgery, it is vital that you have realistic expectations. While Dr. Lawrence strives to create a natural appearance, your newly reconstructed breast(s) will not have the same look, sensations, or texture as your original breast(s). You should get approval from your oncology doctor to have surgery and tell Dr. Lawrence about any other factors that could impact healing.
There are a variety of techniques available today for breast reconstruction. There are also many factors that Dr. Lawrence considers when determining the technique that will produce your best results. Some of these factors include cancer diagnosis, reconstruction timing, whether you will use natural tissue or implants, and if nipple-sparing or nipple reconstruction is a part of the process. In order to rebuild the breast, there must be enough tissue to adequately cover the breast mound. Flap procedures accomplish this by using your own muscle, fat, and skin to create, cover, and build the mound. The most common flap techniques are:
- TRAM Flap
This method uses skin, fat, and muscle from your stomach to create the breast. The tissue used to create the new breast can be detached from the abdomen or it may remain attached to the donor location, keeping the original blood supply.
- DIEP Flap
Like a TRAM Flap, a DIEP Flap removes fat, skin, and blood vessels from the lower stomach, but it doesn't take the muscle. The DIEP (deep inferior epigastric perforator) flap removes fat and skin from the belly to form the breast mound, then uses microsurgery to attach the blood vessels to the chest.
- Latissimus Dorsi Flap
This method uses muscle, skin, and fat from your back. During this procedure, some tissue is moved from the back to the mastectomy site through a surgically created tunnel and remains attached to the donor location, which leaves the original blood supply intact.
- PAP Flap
Another flap alternative is the PAP (profunda artery perforator). This technique takes skin, fat, and muscle tissue from your inner thigh to create your breast(s).
- LTP Flap
While the TRAM flap tends to be one of the more common methods used during reconstruction, sometimes there is not enough muscle, skin, and fat that can be taken from the abdominal area. In these situations, the LTP flap may be used, which takes tissue from the lateral thigh area.
- Composite Flap
Also known as a composite stacked flap, this method combines flaps from different areas on your body to reconstruct the breast.
While flap procedures are usually successful and a common method used in breast reconstruction, you may be able to rebuild your breast(s) with tissue expansion. This involves placing a tissue expander under the breast wall and then slowly filling it with saline over the course of 4 – 6 months until the skin is properly stretched. After a flap has been created or the skin is stretched through an expander, you can then decide whether you want to use a natural fat transfer or breast implants to create the volume and shape of the breast(s). After your breast reconstruction surgery, you may want to improve the appearance with nipple and areola reconstruction. There are numerous options to restore the nipple-areola complex so that it looks more attractive.
What to Expect
Breast reconstruction surgery is performed in various stages. During certain phases (such as creating a flap, inserting an expander, or placing implants), general anesthesia is often used. Some patients will require an overnight stay — this is dependent on the current phase of treatment. Once the final step has been completed in the breast reconstruction process, you will wear a compression bra for the chest and you will be given medication by Dr. Lawrence to control bleeding, swelling, and discomfort. Over time, the breast(s) will look normal so you can feel more confident. Ongoing monitoring with mammograms and breast exams are important and recommended for long-term health.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does breast reconstruction surgery cost?
Breast reconstruction is a complex surgery so to get great results, you should concentrate on choosing a doctor with years of training, like Dr. Lawrence, over the lowest price. At your consultation, Dr. Lawrence will listen to your needs and goals before crafting your custom reconstruction plan. Once this is done, she can talk to you about cost estimates, payment methods, and low-interest financing.
Does insurance cover my surgery?
The WHCRA (Women's Health and Cancer Rights Act) of 1998 requires insurance plans that cover mastectomies to also cover breast reconstruction surgery. If you have insurance, someone from Marisa Lawrence Plastic Surgery will help you understand your policy and coverage. We will also help you submit needed information and paperwork to your insurance.
Which technique should I choose?
There is no single technique that is right for everyone. The best technique for you will depend on your needs, goals, and body. During your consultation, Dr. Lawrence can go over your options, including both implants and flaps, so you understand the benefits and challenges before you decide on your treatment plan. Whether you decide on implants or a flap for reconstruction, Dr. Lawrence will do her best to give you natural-looking results.
What about nipple reconstruction?
Reconstruction of the nipple-areola complex is usually performed with cosmetic tattooing. If you are interested in having your nipple-areola complex tattooed onto your reconstructed breast(s), you should tell Dr. Lawrence during your consultation. She will go over your options so you can decide if you want 3D tattooing of the nipple and areola to be a part of your treatment plan.
Should I have reconstruction with my mastectomy or wait?
When you choose to have breast reconstruction is based on several things. Some patients choose to have their reconstruction performed at the same time as their mastectomy while some patients prefer to wait. Dr. Lawrence recommends you schedule a consultation after your cancer diagnosis so you can begin learning about your options and when you may want reconstruction surgery. If you decide to have reconstruction at the same time as your mastectomy, Dr. Lawrence can work with your oncologist to plan your surgery.
Plan Your Procedure
- Average Cost
- $5,600 - $14,300
- Recovery Time
- 2 – 6 Weeks
- Average Procedure Time
- 2 – 4 Hours
- Post-op Follow-up
- 1 Week
- Procedure Recovery Location
Reclaim Your Self-Confidence
While the breast reconstruction process can be lengthy, it is considered one of the most worthwhile cosmetic surgeries for our Atlanta, GA patients at Marisa Lawrence Plastic Surgery. It can help decrease the emotional and physical impact of a mastectomy while also allowing you to boost your self-confidence and figure. If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer, have had trauma to the chest, or were born with a defect that affects the shape of your breasts, we invite you to call our Atlanta or Alpharetta, GA offices and schedule your consultation with Dr. Marisa Lawrence.