Patients who are given the diagnosis of breast cancer have many decisions to make regarding their treatment. For those who choose to have a mastectomy, I’m pleased to tell my breast reconstruction patients in Los Angeles that reconstructive options are better than ever.
Key decisions that a patient must make when considering breast reconstruction include:
Immediate vs. delayed reconstruction
Implant vs. autologous flap reconstruction
Type of implant
Options to improve the shape and symmetry of the opposite breast
Nipple and areola reconstruction
Immediate vs. Delayed Reconstruction
When patients with breast cancer undergo a mastectomy, they may choose to reconstruct the breast during the same operation or to delay the reconstruction until a later date. Advantages to immediate reconstruction include:
The sense of loss some women feel after removal of their breast is minimized
One fewer operation is required to reconstruct the breast
The plastic surgeon is able to work with the oncologic surgeon to optimize the aesthetic outcome for the patient.
On the other hand, a patient may choose to delay the reconstruction because they want to simplify their recovery during this difficult time. Either choice is reasonable; however, for most patients, it makes sense to have immediate breast reconstruction at the time of mastectomy.
Educated at some of the most elite institutions in the country, Dr. David Stoker uses his highly advanced knowledge to ensure that each patient achieves beautiful, harmonious results — whether it's through a simple non-surgical procedure or a more advanced surgical transformation. Learn more about his unique credentials and his approach to plastic surgery.
Implants used for breast reconstruction are similar to those used for cosmetic breast augmentation. Advantages of implant reconstruction include:
Shorter operation with fewer serious complications
No donor site sacrifices because no other parts of the body are involved
Alternatively, autologous flaps are comprised of tissue taken from other parts of the patient’s body such as the abdomen, back or buttocks. This tissue is transferred to the chest to recreate a breast mound. Advantages of autologous flap reconstruction include:
The most natural-feeling reconstruction because it is the patient’s own fat and muscle
Less likelihood of breast operations in the distant future from implant-related complications (such as capsular contracture)
Less likelihood of complications in patients requiring radiation
Type of Implant
Patients who choose implant reconstruction have several implant options to choose from. Silicone gel implants look and feel much more natural than saline implants and this advantage is particularly noticeable in the reconstructed breast, where only thin tissues cover the implant. The FDA-approved silicone gel implants are a reasonable option for many patients. I’m pleased also to offer the newest generation of silicone implants, cohesive gel implants, as a part of a clinical trial. These implants have a lower risk of visible ripples or implant rupture. In my opinion, they are the best option for most breast reconstruction patients.
Learn about professional credentials and see almost 1,000 patient pictures and descriptions by Dr. Stoker.
The Opposite Breast
Most patients who have breast reconstruction require surgery on the opposite breast to improve the symmetry and shape of the breasts. For instance, it is not possible to reconstruct a droopy breast for most patients. The better option is to reconstruct a perky breast and perform a breast lift on the opposite side. Insurance companies should cover surgery for the opposite breast as well.
Nipple and Areola
Nipple and areola reconstruction is typically performed as the final stage. I’m able to recreate a nipple through a small skin operation performed under local anesthesia. The areola is created afterward by tattooing pigment to match the opposite side.
Breast reconstruction patients have many options, and I’m happy to help you navigate through this myriad of options. If you’re interested in learning more, request a consultation with me online or by calling
Our expertise extends beyond plastic surgery. We offer an extensive range of non-surgical treatments administered by our talented, experienced team of aesthetic providers under the guidance of board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. David Stoker.
If you have a treatment in mind, review our complete offering of non-surgical services. If you need a little help deciding, narrow down your options with our interactive treatment planner.