BREAST SURGERY

BREAST RECONSTRUCTION

  1. Houston Plastic Surgery Texas
  2.  | Breast Reconstruction in Houston, TX

Breast Reconstruction
Houston, TX

Undergoing a lumpectomy or mastectomy to battle the scourge of cancer can be a very traumatic experience. Many breast cancer survivors are physically and emotionally drained after the treatment and the disfigured breast appearance doesn’t.

Plastic surgeons can, however, perform a reconstruction breast procedure to make you feel whole again. This treatment, which has a transformative impact, is best suited for women who are now cancer free and are looking to rediscover their feminine appearance.

Houston, TX plastic surgeon Dr. Christopher Balinger helps patients who have lost one or both breasts to cancer feel better again. The surgeon has worked with countless women from Houston, Conroe, and surrounding Texas communities. He understands that your best self is connected to your self-confidence and emotional well-being. Working with a team of highly experienced clinicians, Dr. Christopher goes out of his way to make sure that each patient is comfortable, safe, and happy with their procedure outcome. He uses state of the art equipment and advanced surgical methods to achieve the best result while minimizing the risk of further complications.

Who is a Candidate for Breast Reconstruction?

Breast enlargement gives your breasts more size and shape to balance your proportions. Plastic surgeons consider a number of factors to figure out whether you are an ideal candidate for this procedure.

Breast reconstruction is a procedure to rebuild the female breasts after a lumpectomy or mastectomy. This transformative treatment may be for you if:

  • You are able to cope with your diagnosis and treatment
  • You are in good overall health and are finally free of cancer
  • You do not need (or have completed) chemotherapy or radiation therapy treatment for cancer
  • You have a positive outlook and realistic goals for rebuilding your breasts and restoring your self image

When you visit Dr. Balinger for your first breast reconstruction consultation in Houston Texas, the surgeon will learn more about you and discuss treatment modalities. In many cases, Dr. Balinger works closely with your doctors to determine if this is the best time for breast reconstruction surgery. The surgeon is committed to your wellbeing and will give you insights on everything you need to know about this treatment.

Types of Breast Reconstruction

Plastic surgeons have several methods that they can use to complete your reconstruction breast procedure.

Implant breast reconstruction

This is the most common method for breast reconstruction. There are two types of implant reconstruction based on when the procedure is performed.

Direct-to-implant reconstruction

Also referred to as immediate breast reconstruction, this treatment is performed at the same time as the mastectomy. The plastic surgeon will come in after your cancer surgeon and insert the implant under your breast skin or chest muscle. In many cases, an absorbable mesh will be used to hold the implant in place. The main advantage of this approach is that doctors are often able to preserve your breast skin, which can ensure a better-looking outcome. More so, you won’t have to stay without a breast shape after your cancer surgery.

Delayed breast reconstruction

This type of implant breast reconstruction is completed later on. The surgeon will insert a tissue expander during the mastectomy to help pave the way for the reconstructive procedure. This expander is typically a balloon-like pocket that is inserted flat and then later expanded to the desired size. The goal of this is to help stretch the skin. Once the breast area has stretched enough, a secondary procedure will then be performed to replace the temporary expander with a permanent breast implant. This option is often recommended when the patient needs radiation therapy after the mastectomy.
Your surgical team will be able to recommend the best possible implant reconstruction option, taking into account your cancer treatment, medical history, body shape, and personal goals.

Autologous tissue reconstruction

This method is also referred to as the ‘flap’ technique. That is because plastic surgeons use a flap of donor tissue borrowed from elsewhere in your body to rebuild the new breast shape. This type of procedure is often more difficult than implant reconstruction and requires a longer recovery time. On the pro side, flap reconstruction delivers a natural result and is a permanent solution. Dr. Balinger specializes in a number of natural tissue breast reconstruction methods.

DIEP Flap

This entails using a flap of tissue borrowed from the lower belly. Plastic surgeons extract a section of skin, fat, and associated blood vessels from the abdominal area and translocate it to the chest in order to rebuild the new breasts. The main advantage of this method is that it leaves the abdominal muscle intact, thus leading to faster recovery. DIEP Flap is usually possible for women who have enough donor tissue in the abdominal area to form the new breast tissue.

TRAM Flap

TRAM Flap – this technique resembles a DIEP flap (above), only that abdominal muscle is included in the donor tissue. This makes TRAM a harsher technique that results in slower recovery. The patient will need to wait longer for both their chest and abdomen to fully recover.

GAP Flap

This is a method for natural tissue reconstruction that takes donor tissue from the buttocks area. This method may be a suitable alternative for women who lack enough donor tissue in the abdominal area.

PAP Flap

In a PAP Flap, donor tissue is extracted from the thigh region and translocated to the chest. Dr. Balinger may recommend this method particularly for women who have small breasts.

Fat Grafting

Also referred to as autologous fat transfer, this is another technique that is evolving as an alternative method for breast reconstruction. Excess fat tissue is obtained from other parts of the body and processed before it is re-injected into the chest in order to form the new breast mound.
The needs and preferences of each patient are unique. During your consultation visit with Dr. Balinger, the surgeon will comprehensively explore all the options available to you, and discuss the pros and cons of each method.

Recovery After your Breast Reconstruction Surgery

Following breast reconstruction surgery, patients are often required to stay at the hospital for a night or two. This is important so that the surgeon’s team can monitor your progress before you are finally discharged to go home and continue with recovery. You will need to have a close friend or family member to drive you home and help get things done around the house. The total duration of recovery varies from one patient to another, based on the type of procedure and their unique healing ability. It is common for patients to experience a dull ache in the days following the surgery. The surgeon will administer medications to ease discomfort and prevent infections. You will need to wear a special bra that is intended to support your healing. Most breast reconstruction patients are able to get back to light activities in 3-4 weeks. You will need to avoid heavy lifting and strenuous exercises for at least 7 weeks. Make sure to follow Dr. Balinger’s post-op instructions in order to ensure that everything turns out smooth during recovery.

Plan your Breast Reconstruction in Houston Texas

Breast reconstruction plastic surgery prices Houston can vary dramatically depending on the technique used. Many patients who work with Dr. Balinger pay anywhere between $6,000 and $17,000 for this procedure. Health insurers usually cover the cost of breast reconstruction. This is in line with the Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act of 1998 that required these companies to pay for mastectomies and associated reconstructive treatments.

Meet the Surgeon

Christopher Balinger, MD, brings keen professionalism to the operating table. With each patient, the surgeon creates a highly customized plan to achieve the desired procedure outcome while working to eliminate or minimize the risk of scarring and complications. Dr. Balinger is uniquely skilled to perform breast reconstruction and other reconstructive plastic surgeries. He works with a team of highly qualified support staff who are committed to the safety and well being of their patients. If you are looking for the best plastic surgeon in Houston for breast reconstruction, get in touch with Dr. Balinger’s office today.
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Average Cost
$6,000 – $17,000
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Procedure Time
Varies
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Recovery Time
3-4 Weeks
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Insurance
Usually Covered
The way your body looks in every situation will either increase or decrease your overall self-confidence. When you have a breast removed for cancer or other reasons, you may feel less feminine. Dr. Balinger offers breast reconstruction for women in Houston, Conroe, and the surrounding areas of Texas.
Frequently Asked Questions

What is breast reconstruction?

Breast reconstruction is a type of surgery that aims to restore the natural shape and size of a woman’s breast. You may be considering breast reconstruction after a mastectomy, trauma, injury, or other situation. Dr. Balinger understands the importance of body shape and style for women, and he works with many who have lost their confidence due to changes in their breasts.

How much does breast reconstruction cost?

The average cost of breast reconstruction is $4,500 to $9,500. After your consultation, Dr. Balinger will have a treatment plan prepared upon which we can provide detailed information about the cost of your breast reconstruction. Houston Plastic Surgery Associates offers free initial consultations at our offices in Houston and Conroe, as well as financing options for our patients.

What are the benefits of breast reconstruction?

Breast reconstruction not only helps restore the natural shape of your breasts, but it may also be recommended for any asymmetry that has resulted from a partial mastectomy.

How is breast reconstruction performed?

Dr. Balinger is experienced with innovative breast reconstruction techniques that restore the natural shape of your breasts. He listens to your concerns and determines the best approach for your situation. If you have adequate skin in the breast area, he may recommend breast implants. Flap techniques are effective for women who have very little skin to work with when reforming the breast.

What is recovery like after breast reconstruction?

Breast reconstruction can be quite involved, but the downtime is typically less than your procedure to remove the breast. Dr. Balinger will detail the recovery at the time of your consultation. Having a friend or family member available for the first week is a good option, as you can rest rather than take care of daily needs, such as preparing meals. Expect to have bruising, tenderness, swelling, and discomfort for the first month. You may have residual swelling for six months to one year.

How long will breast reconstruction results last?

The results of your breast reconstruction are long-term. Dr. Balinger may schedule periodic follow-up appointments to monitor your progress and ensure that you are satisfied with the results of the procedure.
If you are considering breast reconstruction, the choice of plastic surgeon is an important first step. Dr. Christopher Balinger specializes in breast reconstruction for women in Houston, Conroe, and nearby communities in Texas. Contact us today to schedule a free breast reconstruction consultation at our office in Houston or our office in Conroe.