A Personal Approach to Breast Reconstruction
We understand the unique circumstances that have led you to seek a plastic surgeon’s help and promise to treat you as a partner in your breast reconstruction process.
While facilitating your recovery after breast cancer and mastectomy is our priority, Dr. Cohen aims to recreate an aesthetically pleasing, symmetrical, and natural looking breast that closely matches your opposite breast shape and size.
Dr. Cohen will essentially become part of your cancer treatment team, and he will develop a close working relationship with your cancer surgeon as well as any other physicians involved in your care.
Choosing a Breast Reconstruction Technique
Recent advancements in breast reconstruction techniques have expanded the options you have to restore your breast contour following mastectomy. Many of our patients choose tissue expander & breast implant reconstruction, while others prefer a method that uses their own natural tissue. Which one you choose is entirely personal.
Prior to surgery, Dr. Cohen will discuss the various techniques, explain the advantages and drawbacks of each as they apply to your unique situation, and prepare a plan to determine which option best fits your needs and desires.
WHAT IS INVOLVED IN THE SURGERY?
Breast reconstruction is a highly individualized procedure, and the surgical process varies widely from patient to patient, depending on the technique used, the desired outcome, and whether or not reconstruction is performed at the same time as mastectomy.
The surgery can take from 1 to 6 hours, depending on the option chosen. Most breast reconstruction involves more than one procedure, with the first procedure usually taking the most time. Because safety is our first concern, we always work with board-certified anesthesiologists to ensure that your surgery is as safe as possible.
HOW LONG DOES RECOVERY TAKE?
Just as the time and complexity of surgery can vary, the recovery process will be different depending on the technique used, as well as your general overall health at the time of reconstruction. Typically, flap procedures require more time in the hospital than tissue expansion procedures, and those involving incisions into the abdominal area will require the longest recovery. You can expect to stay in the hospital for 2-5 days after your surgery.
It may take up to 6 weeks to recover from a combined mastectomy and reconstruction, while a delayed reconstruction using only implants will require considerably less recovery time.
NIPPLE TATTOOING & AREOLA RECONSTRUCTION
Nipple/areolar tattooing is the final stage of the breast reconstruction process, and takes place after you have healed from your prior surgeries. This relatively simple in-office treatment is an important step in helping your recreated breast truly feel like your own.
The procedure takes about 1 hour, performed by our specially trained permanent makeup tattoo artist. She works carefully to recreate a nipple/areola appearance that looks natural and proportional to your new breast shape and size, artistically creating a three-dimensional appearance to the area. She can match the pigments to those of your previous nipple and areola, or apply a darker or lighter shade than you had before, if you prefer.
While the tattooing procedure is typically not painful, we can provide a local anesthetic to keep you as comfortable as possible. The area will be sensitive and irritated for approximately 1 week after treatment, and will initially appear darker than your chosen pigment. Your skin will heal to the desired color within about 3 weeks.
Will Insurance Cover Breast Reconstruction?
If your health insurance plan covers mastectomy, it will also cover breast reconstruction. With few exceptions, health insurance companies in the U.S. are required to include breast reconstruction coverage in their mastectomy benefits, including the cost of implants. Maryland state law also mandates that insurance companies cover breast reconstruction after mastectomy, as well as opposite-breast surgery when necessary. Our office will work with your insurance company to determine the scope of your benefits.
Meet Our Leader in Breast Reconstruction Surgery
Our Baltimore breast specialist, Dr. Michael Cohen, is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and has over 20 years of experience in aesthetic breast surgery and breast reconstruction. Dr. Cohen is also trained and experienced in vascular microsurgery, which is required for certain breast reconstruction techniques, such as the DIEP Flap method.