I’m Not Happy With My Implants — Is Flap Surgery Possible?

This week, Dr. Richard Kline of The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction answers your questions.

Q: I had a double mastectomy last August with immediate expander reconstruction. My expanders were replaced in January with silicone implants and needless to say I’m not thrilled with them. They are hard, cold and I now have ripples across them. My surgeon is going to remove more excess skin in hopes to alleviate the “wrinkling” effect, but I’m honestly not sure if I even want to have this done. I originally wanted to have a tissue transfer (abdominal) but was advised to try the implant route first.

I know that I don’t have a lot of abdominal fat and would probably end up with very small breasts if I went this route instead. I don’t mind the smallness but am concerned on the dangers of having a tissue transfer and wonder if this would be a better, more natural breast for me. I’m not getting the feeling that my surgeon is comfortable with this type of surgery and would like more information on your facility. I feel like I have so many questions that no one can seem to answer. Is there someone that I can reach out to?

A: We would be very happy to discuss your situation with you. It is very rare for someone not to have enough stomach or buttock tissue, especially with subsequent fat grafting, to provide an acceptable breast size. Flap surgery can be a little intimidating, but our success rate over the last ten years is 98.4%. We have helped many women who have started out with implant reconstruction, only to decide that it was not the right choice for them.
Our nurse Chris or P.A. Kim can call to discuss your situation further, if you wish.

Thank you for your question.

Dr. Richard M. Kline

Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction

Have a question about breast reconstruction or post-surgical care you’d like answered from our surgical team? Just ask us!

Help! Is This Long-Term Pain After Breast Reconstruction Normal?

DIEP flapThis week, Dr. James Craigie of The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction answers your questions when considering reconstruction or pain after reconstruction.

Q: I had flap surgery in October 2010. Since then, I have experienced pain to the touch in that area, all day, almost every day. Is this normal? 

A: I’m sorry you are having pain in your reconstructed breast. If you have not had your surgeon examine you, that should be your first step to get to the cause of the pain. After breast reconstruction is completed, the new breast should not be painful.  Some people who have implant reconstruction can have pain related to capsular contracture or implant rejection.

If I had more details about your situation, I could possibly give you more information. I would strongly recommend that you make sure your surgeon and or oncologist thoroughly look in to the cause of the pain. I would also not wait a long time to do this. Let me know if you would like to give me more info.


Q: I’m considering breast reconstruction. How long will it take for breast to look normal? What are the differences in the different types of procedures?

A: Thank you for your question. All types of breast reconstruction require time to complete and almost always more than one surgery. Depending on the circumstances, some patients may require chemotherapy and/or radiation. If this is the case, treatments can delay the completion of the process. I tell my patients to allow 3-6 months after any procedure for the results to settle and swelling to resolve.

There are generally two types of reconstruction: implant reconstruction and reconstruction using your own tissue. Implants are generally less natural and for some patients, the results are less permanent. Using your own tissue can be grouped into procedures that sacrifice muscles in the body and those that preserve muscle and use only skin and fat. The latter muscle-sparing procedures are our specialty and require expertise in a specific type of microsurgery.                

I hope this helps! Let me know if you need more info.

Dr. James Craigie

Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction

Have a question about breast reconstruction you’d like answered from our surgical team? Just ask us!