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What is Breast Reconstruction?

Breast reconstruction involves rebuilding the breast after its removal due to a mastectomy or other trauma or injury. Breast reconstruction can be a single procedure, but is most often a series of surgeries that help recreate the breast mound with a combination of natural skin and tissue along with breast implants or fat transfer augmentation.

Dr. Otto Placik is a board certified plastic surgeon who specializes in breast reconstruction after breast cancer, but also offers a full range of cosmetic breast procedures for women in Chicago and throughout the surrounding suburbs. Dr. Placik understands the emotional impact of a breast cancer diagnosis and subsequent mastectomy, and helps ensure that you feel comfortable and supported from consultation through recovery.

Please contact us online or call our Chicago or Arlington Heights plastic surgery offices for more information on breast reconstruction surgery, including prices.

Board Certified Plastic Surgeon in Chicago

Dr. Otto Joseph Placik Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon

Dr. Placik is a board certified plastic surgeon in Chicago and an active member of The American Society of Plastic Surgeons. He received his medical degree from Northwestern University where he also completed residencies in general and plastic and reconstructive surgery.


About Breast Reconstruction

Women who have had all or part of one or both breasts removed often find reconstruction to be an important part of the healing process. After a mastectomy, reconstruction can help restore a sense of femininity and confidence as well as a sense of feeling “whole” again. Reconstruction can either be performed at the time of mastectomy, or can be delayed until the patient is emotionally ready to move forward with the reconstructive part of the process.

The complexity and duration of your breast reconstruction will be largely determined by how aggressive the mastectomy surgery was. Patients who still have the pectoral muscle intact can typically expect a better aesthetic result than patients who had a radical mastectomy and no longer have the chest muscle. When rebuilding the breast, breast implants form the foundation of the new breast shape, although fat transfer augmentation may be an option for some patients. For some patients, natural tissue may be used for reconstruction as well.

Breast reconstruction includes not only the recreation of a natural breast shape and profile, but also reconstruction of the nipple and areola using skin grafts. In many cases, the opposite breast may require cosmetic procedures in order to ensure symmetry, such as breast reduction or a breast lift. Tissue expanders may be necessary in order to stretch the skin enough to accommodate the desired implant size.

Reconstruction surgery is performed under general anesthesia and can require a hospital for a day or two. Depending on the extent of reconstruction you will require, more than one surgery may be necessary. In order for your body to properly heal, it’s imperative that you follow Dr. Placik’s recovery instructions and avoid any strenuous activities for 6 weeks. You can expect some soreness and discomfort after surgery, but prescription medications should help make you more comfortable.

Before and After Breast Reconstruction Diagram

Breast Reconstruction
Patient Not a Model

Breast Reconstruction FAQ

Am I a good candidate?

Almost any woman who has had part or all of her breasts removed may be a candidate for breast reconstruction. Before your procedure, Dr. Placik will discuss how much improvement you can expect to see in order to ensure that you have realistic expectations.

How much does my breast reconstruction cost?

The Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act of 1998 led to the coverage of post-mastectomy breast reconstruction under any health insurance plans that also provide coverage for lumpectomy or mastectomies. Coverage also includes any necessary procedures on the contralateral (opposite) breast that could be required to ensure symmetry following reconstruction. If you don’t have insurance, or your insurance doesn’t cover breast cancer treatments and reconstruction, Dr. Placik and his staff can help you with plastic surgery financing to make your procedure even more affordable.

Should I have reconstruction at the same time as my mastectomy, or should I wait?

The timing of your reconstruction is often a very personal decision, and may be impacted by any necessary ongoing cancer treatments as well. Some women prefer immediate reconstruction, while others wish to wait until the immediate emotional and physical challenges related to cancer treatment are behind them. A study has shown that immediate reconstruction generally has no impact on the timeframe or success of subsequent treatments, including radiation or chemotherapy.

Will my breasts match?

Reconstruction typically involves rebuilding the affected breast to match your remaining breast, but additional procedures are often necessary in order to ensure the best results. Dr. Placik will explain all of your options to you so that you can make an informed decision about your final results.

What will my reconstructed breast look like?

You should expect to see a very positive outcome from your reconstruction, depending on the type of mastectomy that was performed and the amount of existing scar tissue in the reconstructed breast. However, it’s important to realize that there will always be some difference between your natural breast and a reconstructed one.

What are the risks?

The potential risks associated with breast reconstruction are similar to those with any breast surgery and may include anesthesia reaction, infection, blood clots or asymmetry. There is a higher risk of capsular contracture after reconstruction with implants compared to cosmetic breast augmentation. Permanent changes in sensation are also possible, although rare.

Dr. Placik promises you his best possible care and attention. If you would like to schedule a private consultation to learn more about breast reconstruction surgery, please contact us online or call us at 847-398-1660.


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