Dr. James Craigie Answers Your Questions About Natural Breast Reconstruction

The below questions are answered by Dr. James Craigie of The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction.

Do you perform a stacked combination DIEP/SGAP using both to make a breast(s)?

We do on occasion. It may be needed when one area of the body does not have enough tissue to achieve the desired result. This is an unusual situation in our practice we can usually achieve our goals with one area of the body.

There is a lot of discussion about a maximum BMI what about a minimum?

BMI is a guide line that helps the surgeon determine who is at a higher risk for complications. It is not a strict guideline and the final decision is left to the surgeons judgment among other things. Safety is our first priority and studies have definitely linked high BMI to an increased rate of complications without a doubt. Unfortunately  BMI is not a perfect calculation and different doctors may use the information differently. A low BMI is not linked to complications if someone is otherwise fit for surgery. Someone with very little body fat will have a low BMI and possibly not enough tissue to make a very large breast. This does not mean they cannot have a good result. It  may mean they require and combined or stacked flap approach. We have seen many patients who have been told they “don’t have enough tissue” but after consultation can reassure them they can get a very proportional result.

Dr. James Craigie

The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction

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Capsular Contracture From Breast Implants

The below question is answered by Charleston breast surgeon Dr. James Craigie of The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction.

I have had two failed breast reconstructions using an implant. First was placed too high up, and the second one anchored down with abdominal advancement flap. After 5 months the implant began to disappear. MRI proved it was not ruptured. Doctors were not worried  and I was told to stop worrying about it, so I continued on with my life. I then developed chest pain, muscle/ligament/joint/back pain and breathlessness when climbing hills or stairs. Eventually after 2 and a half years, I referred back to PS who told me I had a chest wall concavity due to the implant being forced inwardly under pressure from the scar tissue and muscle. The implant size was 770cc. Will this concavity “spring” back into place or will I have it for the rest of my life? Also what effects might this have on my body if my frame is being pushed out of alignment?


Thanks for your question. I’m sorry you have had these problems. We see people whose chest wall and ribs become indented due to implants quite frequently. The problem develops because body reacts to the implant by making scar. We call this capsular contracture and in some people it can exert tremendous force due to constant pressure. The process will persist as long as you have an implant. We have not performed scientific studies to prove the ribs return to normal but we have treated hundreds of patients with this type of problem by removing the implants and replacing them with their own tissue with out taking their muscles. This has solved their problems related to implants permanently. I hope this answers your question, let me know

James Craigie, MD
Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction

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