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Breast Reconstruction in Bucks County, PA & Hunterdon County, NJ

Is Breast Reconstruction Surgery Right for Me?

Dr. Buinewicz,  Emeritus Chief of Plastic Surgery and Reconstructive Surgery at Abington Hospital and staff member at Hunterdon Medical Center, as well as a triple board-certified surgeon, is dedicated to breast reconstruction after breast cancer surgery. He has over 23 years of experience in breast reconstruction after lumpectomy and mastectomy surgery. Buinewicz Plastic Surgery is located in Doylestown, PA and Flemington, NJ, and serves the men and women who live in Hunterdon County, NJ and Bucks County, PA.

What Can Breast Reconstruction Accomplish?

  • Restored bust line and femininity
  • Restored sense of wholeness
  • Creation of natural-looking breasts

What is Breast Reconstruction?

Breast reconstruction is the procedure in which a surgeon reconstructs a women’s breast after she has had a mastectomy due to breast cancer. Breast reconstruction was first developed to recreate the look of a woman’s natural breast, restoring and giving her confidence in her body image, in order to complete her recovery from breast cancer. Breast reconstruction does improve the way a mastectomy survivor’s body looks and as a result it often improves her emotional state, but it does have limitations. Before she undergoes breast reconstruction, a woman should understand that the final results may not be a perfect replication of the breasts she lost to cancer. The surgery will leave scars on the breast and on the donor site, and her new breasts will look and feel different than her natural breasts. They will also experience different sensations than her pre-cancerous breasts.

Are You A Candidate For Breast Reconstruction?

Breast reconstruction surgery is a very personal decision that every cancer survivor must make for herself. It is just as hard a choice for women who have lost a breast due to non-cancerous illnesses or a traumatic accident. For many women, losing a breast makes them feel like less of a woman, and the empty space can act as a traumatic reminder of the fight against cancer. The best candidates for a breast reconstruction are those who: 

  • think breast reconstruction will enhance psychological well-being or give a feeling of “wholeness”
  • think it will restore feelings of femininity and restore self-confidence
  • want to restore symmetry if only one of the breasts was removed
  • want to wear low-cut necklines and normal swimwear again

Why Choose Dr. Buinewicz?

Surgeon experience is one of the utmost qualities to consider when seeking a breast reconstruction surgeon. Dr. Buinewicz is a triple board certified plastic surgeon, demonstrating expertise in all qualities of breast surgery. With over 25 years of plastic surgery experience, he has performed hundreds of breast surgery procedures and is passionate about furthering education in the breast reconstruction community. Read more about Dr. Buinewicz’s experience or explore patient reviews.

If you think you might be a good candidate for a breast reconstruction, the next step is to schedule a consultation with Dr. Brian R. Buinewicz. Dr. Buinewicz works closely with your breast surgeon and oncologist to create a plan of short term and long term reconstruction. Dr. Buinewicz provides recommendations with regard to counseling not only for the patient but also family members. You will be guided throughout your reconstruction by Dr. Buinewicz and his office team of nurses and medical assistants. From the time of your consultation through to the reconstructive result, office members will be there to assist you with any questions or concerns.

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Plastic Surgeon in Bucks County, PA & Hunterdon County, NJ

Questions For Your Consult

When is the Best Time for Breast Reconstruction?

Breast reconstruction surgery can be performed at different times in relation to cancer treatment, and the timing depends on various factors, including the individual's overall health, the stage of cancer, the treatment plan, and personal preferences. There are generally three options for breast reconstruction timing:

Immediate Breast Reconstruction

In some cases, breast reconstruction can be performed at the same time as the mastectomy (breast removal) during the initial cancer surgery. The advantage of immediate reconstruction is that the patient wakes up from surgery with a reconstructed breast mound, which can help with body image and psychological well-being. However, not all patients are eligible for immediate reconstruction, depending on the specifics of their cancer and overall health.

Delayed Breast Reconstruction

If immediate reconstruction is not an option or preferred, breast reconstruction can be performed at a later time, after the completion of cancer treatment. The time frame for delayed reconstruction varies and can range from several months to years after the initial cancer treatment. Delayed reconstruction allows for a recovery period from cancer treatment and gives the patient time to make decisions about reconstruction options.

Staged Breast Reconstruction

In some cases, breast reconstruction may be performed in multiple stages, regardless of whether it is immediate or delayed. This approach may involve the use of tissue expanders or implants, followed by additional procedures to refine the breast shape and symmetry.

Is Breast Reconstruction Surgery Covered by Insurance?

Yes, breast reconstruction surgery is generally covered by insurance in the United States. However, coverage can vary between insurance providers and plans, and certain criteria must be met for coverage to be provided. To determine the coverage and potential out-of-pocket costs for breast reconstruction, it is recommended to contact your insurance provider directly.

How Much Does Breast Reconstruction Cost?

The average cost of breast reconstruction surgery varies from one community to the other with some small variations. Factors, such as the facility where the breast reconstruction will be performed, type of anesthesia and other issues, come to bear on the final cost of the breast reconstruction surgery. Hunterdon County and Bucks County breast reconstruction varies in price range according to these factors. Buinewicz Cosmetic Surgery & MedSpa makes breast surgery procedures available and affordable for everyone. Our office provides a wide array of payment options, including easy financing. We also accept cash, major credit cards and personal checks for breast reductions and other procedures.

What is Breast Reconstruction Surgery Like?

What Happens During Breast Reconstruction Surgery?

There are many different options when it comes to breast reconstruction surgery. The best option for you will be dependent on your body shape, Dr. Buinewicz’s suggestions and the outcome you desire. Some of the treatment options include:

Breast Reconstruction with Implants

When you get a breast implant after mastectomy, it may require skin expansion. This requires a saline filled tissue expander to be inserted after the mastectomy, preparing the area for reconstruction at a later date. The mound of the breast will be restored after surgery. This does leave permanent scars, but they do fade over time.  Sometimes you are able to place a permanent implant immediately at the time of mastectomy, either above or below the muscle.

Flap Reconstruction

This is the latest and most state-of-the-art form of breast reconstruction. Flap reconstruction uses your own tissue to reconstruct the breast mound. It differs from the tissue expander method in that the mound of the breast is finished during the first surgery. There is no need to continue expansion using tissue from the abdomen (TRAM flap, perforator flap, DIEP flap), the back (latissimus dorsi flap) and/or buttocks (gluteal flap). Common follow-up procedures include nipple reconstruction, shaping of the new breasts to improve symmetry and breast lift/reduction surgery of the contralateral breast. This procedure lowers the possibility of complications because your new breast will actually be created from living tissue that has been harvested from your own body. The results feel completely natural, and they last for the rest of your life.

Breast Reconstruction in Bucks County, PA & Hunterdon County, NJ

What are the risks of breast reconstruction surgery?

The most common risks associated with breast reconstruction surgery include infection, poor wound healing, capsular contracture (when implants are used) and changes in sensation and asymmetry. Dr. Buinewicz’s focus and expertise on breast surgery techniques help to minimize the risks associated with breast reconstruction surgery. As with any major surgery, there will always be risks involved - but under the care of a qualified and experienced surgeon, any significant complications become extremely unlikely.

What is Breast Reconstruction Recovery Like?

How Long is Breast Reconstruction Recovery?

The breast reconstruction recovery process is complex, and can vary significantly depending on the type of reconstruction techniques used and the timing of your reconstruction in relation to cancer treatment. For most patients, the general breast reconstruction recovery timeline looks like this:

Week 1

In the first few days of recovery, patients will need to rest as much as possible with very limited activity. Patients can expect bruising, swelling and discomfort during this time that can be managed with medications and other recovery techniques. Three days after your breast reconstruction surgery, your dressings will be removed. If surgical drains were placed within the incisions, then those tubes will be removed after about one week.

Breast Reconstruction in Bucks County, PA & Hunterdon County, NJ

Week 2

During this time, patients are generally able to resume non-vigorous activities. You may still experience some swelling, bruising, and mild to moderate pain. Furthermore, you should continue to avoid any heavy lifting or activities that strain your chest muscles. It's important to avoid sleeping on your stomach to prevent any added stress to the breasts.

Weeks 3-6

Swelling and bruising should continue to decrease, and you will likely feel more comfortable. You may be able to resume some of your normal daily activities, but you should still avoid heavy lifting or activities that strain the chest area.

Months 3 and Beyond

By this time, most of the swelling should have subsided, and you should be feeling much better. You may be able to return to more regular physical activities, including exercise, based on Dr. Buinewicz’s recommendations.

Post Surgery Frequently Asked Questions

When are the Final Results of Breast Reconstruction Visible?

The timeline for when the final results of breast reconstruction become fully visible can vary depending on the type of reconstruction, the individual's healing process, and the specific techniques used. For most patients, it takes 6-12 months for the breasts to have settled into their final position.

Why Are Stretching Exercises Important After Breast Reconstruction?

A mastectomy and the ensuing breast reconstruction procedure can cause weakness, pain, and even stiffness to settle into the arm and shoulder of the side where your breast was removed. We will show you some stretching exercises you can do to keep your strength and ensure you don’t lose your range of motion. These exercises are also great at keeping scar tissue from forming in your armpit or shoulder.

When Can I Sleep on My Side After Breast Reconstruction?

The timeline for when you can sleep on your side after breast reconstruction can vary depending on your individual healing progress and the specific type of reconstruction procedure performed. Immediately after surgery, it is recommended to sleep on your back or in a slightly elevated position. This helps reduce swelling and pressure on the surgical site. After the initial healing period, Dr. Buinewicz may allow you to start gradually transitioning to side sleeping. This transition is typically done slowly and with caution. You may be advised to use pillows or cushions to support your chest and provide additional comfort during side sleeping.

Receiving a diagnosis of breast cancer is devastating, and when you have faced a long uphill battle that includes a mastectomy, it is important not to ignore the healing of your inner-self as well. You can refresh your self-esteem and recreate your pre-cancer body with breast reconstruction surgery. With two convenient locations in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, and Flemington, New Jersey, Buinewicz Plastic Surgery, led by board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Brian R. Buinewicz, proudly provides breast reconstruction surgery for the women of Hunterdon County, New Jersey, and Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Contact us today to get started.