How Breast Reconstruction Surgery is Performed

This Las Vegas cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery procedure is about helping women who have lost a breast to cancer to get their lives back on track while enjoying a very natural appearance. Dr. Cambeiro has performed breast reconstruction for a wide variety of women in Nevada and is also available for women who want to fly to his practice for surgery. Please contact us to learn more about our fly-in program.

  • The first stage of reconstruction, creation of the breast mound, is almost always performed using general anesthesia, so you will sleep during the entire operation.
  • Follow-up procedures may require only a local anesthesia, combined with a sedative to make you drowsy. You will be relaxed, but awake, and may feel some discomfort.
  • There are many options available in post-mastectomy reconstruction; you and Dr. Cambeiro should discuss the one that is best for you.
  • Breast implant reconstruction—Following mastectomy, Dr. Cambeiro will insert a balloon expander beneath your skin and chest muscle. Through a tiny valve mechanism buried beneath the skin, he will periodically inject a salt-water solution to gradually fill the expander over several weeks or months.
  • After the skin over the breast area has stretched enough the, the expander may be removed in a second operation and a more permanent breast implant will be inserted. Some expanders are designed to be left in place as the final breast implant.
  • The nipple and the dark skin surrounding it, called the areola, are reconstructed in a subsequent procedure.
  • Some breast reconstruction patients do not require preliminary tissue expansion before receiving a breast implant. For these women, the surgeon will proceed with inserting an implant as the first step.
  • Flap reconstruction—An alternative approach to breast implant reconstruction involves creation of a skin flap using tissue taken from other parts of the body, such as the back, abdomen, or buttocks.
  • In one type of flap surgery, the tissue remains attached to its original site (back or abdomen), retaining its blood supply. The flap, consisting of the skin, fat, and muscle with its blood supply, are tunneled beneath the skin to the chest, creating a pocket for a breast implant or, in some cases, creating the breast mound itself, without need for a breast implant.
  • Another flap technique uses tissue that is surgically removed from the abdomen, thighs, or buttocks and then transplanted to the chest by reconnecting the blood vessels to new ones in that region. This procedure requires the skills of a plastic surgeon, like Dr. Cambeiro, who is experienced in microvascular surgery as well.
  • Regardless of whether the tissue is tunneled beneath the skin on a pedicle or transplanted to the chest as a microvascular flap, this type of surgery is more complex than skin expansion.
  • Scars will be left at both the tissue donor site and at the reconstructed breast, and recovery will take longer than with an implant.
  • On the other hand, when the breast is reconstructed entirely with your own tissue, the results are generally more natural and there are no concerns about a silicone implant. In some cases, you may have the added benefit of an improved abdominal contour.
  • Follow-up procedures—Most breast reconstruction involves a series of procedures that occur over time. Usually, the initial reconstructive operation is the most complex. Follow-up surgery may be required to replace a tissue expander with an implant or to reconstruct the nipple and the areola. Dr. Cambeiro will likely recommend an additional operation to enlarge, reduce, or lift the natural breast to match the reconstructed breast.

If you are considering breast reconstruction, Las Vegas plastic surgeon Dr. Cambeiro invites you to request a complimentary consultation or give our office a call at (702) 734-4100 for confidential and informative answers to all your questions. If you prefer, you can send us an email using our discreet online form.


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Throughout the years, Dr. Cambeiro's dedication to patient safety and satisfaction has earned him a reputation as one of the premier plastic surgeons in the region. Learn why so many people agree that Dr. Cambeiro and SurgiSpa were the best choices for them.

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  Arthur M. Cambeiro, MD