- One in 8 women (12%) in the United States is affected by breast cancer in her lifetime.
- Only 30% of women who undergo a breast cancer surgery are offered or are informed about breast reconstructive options; therefore the majority of women are not even told that rebuilding their breasts after deforming cancer surgery is an option.
- It is a fact that:
- breast reconstruction improves a woman’s body image and psychological wellbeing.
- federal law requires insurance companies to provide coverage for breast reconstruction.
Stages of Reconstruction
For reasons related to safety and achieving superior aesthetic results, Dr. Rad often performs breast cancer reconstruction in several stages:
- Stage 1: A tissue expander is placed at the time of a mastectomy. This acts as a spacer to hold the breast shape until stage 2.
- Stage 2: After a 3 to 9 month healing period (depending on whether radiation is needed), the tissue expander is removed and implant or tissue reconstruction is done.
- Stage 3: An outpatient touch-up procedure is usually (but not always) necessary to achieve symmetry – this can involve scar revision, fat grafting and/or breast lift on the normal side.
What Options Do I Have?
- Implant Reconstruction is the most popular option owing to the ease of recovery and simplicity of surgery; however, implant reconstruction often is not a good option due to scar tissue problems caused by prior breast radiation.
- DIEP Flap Reconstruction is the gold standard in tissue reconstruction as it spares critically important core abdominal muscles (unlike the outdated TRAM flap) with the results of Abdominoplasty as a benefit.
- LSGAP “Love Handle” Flap Reconstruction borrows love handle fat and is the most complex breast reconstructive operation in existence; Dr. Rad is 1 of only 30 microvascular surgeons worldwide who is able to perform it.
- Dr. Rad performs Corrective Reconstruction for many women who have had complications or severe asymmetries resulting from radiation or poor outcomes by other surgeons.
- Lumpectomy Reconstruction with Oncoplasty is a win-win as the benefits of a Breast Lift far outweigh the downsides.
Which Option is Best For Me?
- The best breast reconstruction choice is different for each patient and it depends on many factors:
- the type of breast cancer surgery, either mastectomy or lumpectomy, that you require or have had
- whether radiation is required or has been done in the past
- what breast size you desire compared to the original size of your breasts
- whether tissue or implants are best to meet your objectives
- your personal lifestyle and individual preferences
- You have a unique situation and there is no cookie-cutter approach. Dr. Rad spends time with each patient to achieve the best results with the least amount of surgery and in the safest manner possible.
Dr. Rad In The News
- Watch Dr. Rad discuss Microsurgery and the LSGAP “Love Handle” Flap in these news segments:
- Breast reconstruction is safe and is performed under general anesthesia; a short hospitalization (1 to 3 days) is standard for most reconstructive procedures.
- Dr. Rad works with board certified anesthesiologists and performs surgery at Inova Fairfax Hospital, the best rated tertiary care hospital in northern VA.
Cancer Survivor Support
Dr. Rad recommends the following support resources for patients and families:
- Local breast cancer survivorship resources:
- National breast cancer survivorship resources: