Enhance Your Breast Aesthetics Following Initial Breast Reconstruction
During initial breast reconstruction (following a mastectomy or lumpectomy), your new breast(s) creation will begin. This may involve the use of natural tissue flaps (such as DIEP, PAP, GAP, TDAP, or SIEA flap surgery) or tissue expanders (for implants).
While much of your breast reconstruction can be performed during this initial operation, some adjustments will need to be made afterward. This calls for second stage surgery.
Dr. Ali Sadeghi, a double board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon, performs mastectomy, breast reconstruction, second stage surgery, and cosmetic breast surgery for breast cancer survivors in New Orleans, Louisiana.
What Is Second Stage Surgery?
Second stage surgery encompasses many reconstructive and cosmetic-based procedures after an initial breast reconstruction.
This may be performed to complete an implant-based reconstruction or enhance the look of the breast not affected by breast cancer (to retain symmetry and aesthetic appeal).
What Are Some Examples of Second Stage Surgery?
Women undergoing second stage surgery may undergo:
- Expander-to-implant surgery (used for implant-based reconstruction)
- Nipple reconstruction
- Autologous breast lift surgery (after a nipple-sparing or skin-sparing mastectomy)
- Breast augmentation surgery, breast reduction surgery, or breast lift surgery on untreated breast (for women who only undergo treatment on one breast)
- Fat transfer to the breasts
- Donor site scar revision or contouring with the use of liposuction
- Lowering the abdominal incision (for DIEP flap patients)
After the second stage operation, patients who have had autologous DIEP breast reconstructive surgery should look like they have undergone bilateral breast enhancement/lift and a tummy tuck.
How Is Second Stage Surgery Performed?
Most second stage breast procedures are performed on an outpatient basis; however, the procedure length will vary on the techniques being performed. Dr. Sadeghi will provide you with more information during your initial consultation.
Incisions for cosmetic breast improvements will be made on the breast, usually in the fold beneath the breast or to the side of the breast. Dr. Sadeghi does his best to ensure these incisions (and inevitable scars) are easy to conceal under bras and bathing suits.
The techniques used will depend on which surgery is performed.
When Can Second Stage Surgery Be Performed?
Most second stage surgeries can be performed three to four months after the initial breast reconstruction.
An autologous lift surgery can be performed 12 weeks or more beyond first-stage breast reconstruction, and should be delayed until chemotherapy or radiation is completed, if either is required.
This timeframe will vary depending on your exact breast reconstruction and cancer treatment schedule.