Breast Reconstruction Procedure

When life knocks you down, you must build yourself back up. Friends and family provide great scaffolding, but you may require additional support from a caring medical professional. Dr. Linda Leffel is a Board Certified Surgeon whose expertise matches her overwhelming compassion

The Leffel Center is conveniently located in Bend, Oregon, and we welcome patients from Redmond, Prineville, and beyond. To address your breast reconstruction needs, please contact our office and let us know how we can help you.

About

About Breast Reconstruction

Modern surgical technology makes it possible to construct a natural-looking breast after mastectomy (breast removal). Women may require or desire reconstructive surgery in response to cancer treatments, congenital deformities, or other conditions. 

The breast reconstruction procedure is commonly begun – and sometimes completed – immediately following mastectomy. It is possible for the patient to awake with a new breast mound instead of no breast at all. Alternatively, reconstruction may begin years after mastectomy. 

Your body informs your choices. Dr. Leffel is a dedicated guide through the surgical options available to you, but the final call is ultimately yours. 

Flap (Autologous) Reconstruction

“Autologous” means that the material used to construct your new breast(s) is harvested from your own body. An autologous, or flap, reconstruction celebrates your natural beauty by repurposing skin and fat collected from other areas of your figure.[1] The autologous donations may come from the back, abdominal region, buttocks, or thighs.

Reconstruction with Implantation

If you do not have enough excess skin or fat to complete an autologous reconstruction, then implants may be the perfect remedy. Dr. Leffel can implement her breast augmentation expertise to fashion a firm, round silhouette for you. There is a reason why breast augmentations are the most popular cosmetic surgery performed in the United States. They deliver stunning results and a boost of confidence!

Benefits of Breast Reconstruction

You are stronger than cancer. The “Big C” may be a menace to every life it touches, but you can fight it. By taking proactive measures to extract cancerous tissue, you are showing your bravery. Well done! Now you deserve to reap the benefits of a breast reconstruction to reflect your empowerment. These include:

  • A natural look and feel
  • Increased confidence
  • Better fitting clothes (don’t throw out those bras!)
  • Eye candy for your romantic partner
  • A sense of consistency and harmony with your pre-cancer self

Dr. Leffel can detail how breast reconstruction can benefit you during a personal consultation. Reclaim your curves!

Ideal Candidates

Women whose cancer seems to have been eradicated with mastectomy are the best candidates for breast reconstruction. Those with health problems such as obesity and high blood pressure are advised to wait for reconstructive surgery. If you haven’t already done so, you should quit smoking to increase your viability for breast reconstruction.

Some women prefer to postpone surgery as they come to terms with the realities and ramifications of cancer. Dr. Leffel wants you to make an informed decision, so you should consider the extent of the procedure as you weigh your options. Reconstruction should supplement your recovery, not add undue stress. If you have any questions, or merely need a great listener, please call (541) 388-3006. 

Personal Consultation in Bend, Oregon

The foundation of every great reconstruction is communication. We want to understand your journey so that we can help determine where you are going next. During your individualized consultation, please be prepared to provide Dr. Leffel with your medical history, aesthetic goals, and pictures of yourself. We would love to get a snapshot of how you looked before, during, and after your battles with cancer. 

Dr. Leffel is a passionate advocate for her patients, her vocation, and her community. To stay current with the latest trends and information regarding aesthetics in Oregon, please visit our blog.

Preparation for Breast Reconstruction

Sometimes, life happens too fast. When you get a cancer diagnosis, nothing can prepare you for the emotions that cascade from hearing those devastating words. Your initial breast reconstruction may occur immediately following a mastectomy. Preparation for the mastectomy will include preparation for the ensuing reconstruction. Please ask your surgeon lots of questions along the following lines:

  • How will my reconstructed breasts differ from my natural breasts?
  • How will they be similar?
  • Am I eligible for a flap reconstruction, or are implants a better fit?
  • What are the risks and complications associated with my specific breast reconstruction method?
  • Given my current health, what is the expected recovery time?
  • Can the reconstruction be performed all at once, or do you advise multiple sessions?

If you are returning for a follow-up reconstruction procedure, be sure to convey your goals to Dr. Leffel. Why did your past surgeries leave you dissatisfied? How can Dr. Leffel help bring your vision to life?

During your consultation period, the helpful, knowledgeable Leffel Center team will provide you with detailed instructions on how to prepare for your procedure. Please follow these directions closely. You should arrange for a loved one to transport you to and from the hospital. 

The Breast Reconstruction Procedure

When you arrive on the day of your operation, Dr. Leffel will put you at ease. Feel free to ask her any lingering questions, and lean on our support staff for anything you may need. We aim to maximize your comfort and minimize your stress.

The reconstruction itself consists of multiple operations, the first of which involves the creation of the breast mound. This is performed in a hospital during or after mastectomy while the patient is still under general anesthesia. Later surgeries, if necessary, may be done in the hospital or an outpatient facility. Ensuing procedures may require either general or local anesthesia.

If you opt for an autologous, or “flap” reconstruction, then you may wish for Dr. Leffel to use one of the following techniques to harvest material from certain areas of your body:

  • TRAM (Transverse Rectus Abdominis Muscle) – This approach creates a flap from abdominal (tummy) tissue and muscle. Dr. Leffel will carefully integrate the blood vessels from your donor site into your reconstructed chest to provide optimal circulation.
  • DIEP (Deep Inferior Epigastric Perforator) – Similar to the TRAM technique, DIEP collects tissue from the abdomen, but focuses on soft tissue rather than muscle. 
  • Latissimus Dorsi – This method harvests skin, fat, muscles and blood vessels from your upper back to provide ample coverage if you opt to incorporate implants into you breast reconstruction procedure.  
  • GAP (Gluteal Artery Perforator) – Dr. Leffel can craft flaps from skin and fat tissue collected from the buttocks region. No muscle is used, so it creates a softer, more pliable feel than some other methods.
  • TUG (Transverse Upper Gracilis) – By collecting tissue from the inner thighs, Dr. Leffel can shape your muscles, fat, and skin into a natural-looking and feeling new breast. You must have thighs that touch (no gap) to have enough source material for this procedure.

Here’s to a Speedy Recovery

When your surgery is complete, your incisions will be sutured carefully back together to create pleasing contours. Bandages and gauze will ensure maximum protection from irritation. You may be advised to wear an elastic bra to provide additional support to your breasts as they find their ideal shape.

It may take several weeks for the swelling to subside, during which time your stunning new silhouette will emerge. But just because the procedure is over, that doesn’t mean we are. Your Leffel Center family wants to make sure that your health continues to improve, so please contact us with any concerns you may have during the recovery period.

Natural Results

The goal of any reconstruction procedure is to capture the essence of who you were before cancer ever darkened your doorstep. Dr. Leffel will strive to rejuvenate your appearance and restore your hope. Her rave reviews speak for themselves, so allow us to answer: THANK YOU!

Complementary Procedures

If only one breast is affected by mastectomy, then you will most likely want your reconstruction of that breast to mirror the undisturbed side of your body. To create the symmetry you desire, a breast lift may be the perfect solution. Dr. Leffel believes in a holistic approach to health. She would never simply treat one body part without viewing it as a component of a larger picture of wellness. Call (541) 388-3006 to discuss the many options at your disposal when it comes to highlighting and complementing your newly reconstructed breast(s).

FAQ

What does breast reconstruction surgery cost in Oregon?

Many insurance companies cover reconstruction following breast cancer surgery, and legislation is currently before Congress to make coverage mandatory. Regardless of your plan, money should never get in the way of quality healthcare. To learn how the Leffel Center can work within your budgetary constraints, please visit our financing page.

Is breast reconstruction safe?

Your health and happiness are our top priorities. Dr. Leffel will talk you through the breast reconstruction process to alleviate your concerns. If you are eligible for the procedure, the Leffel Center staff can make the arrangements and proceed with your improvement plan. Please contact our Bend, Oregon office to learn how breast reconstruction can replenish your figure.

References 

  1. Allen RJ, Treece P. (1994). Deep inferior epigastric perforator flap for breast reconstruction. Annals of Plastic Surgery. 32(1):32-38. DOI: 10.1097/00000637-199401000-00007 
  2. Hartrampf CR, Scheflan M, Black PW. (1982). Breast reconstruction with a transverse abdominal island flap. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. 69(2):216-225. DOI: 10.1097/00006534-198202000-00006