Conveniently located to serve Charleston, SC
Breast reconstruction typically follows an incredibly difficult period in a patient’s life. Double board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Jason Ulm has performed numerous breast reconstructions in Charleston, SC, at various hospitals, and he knows that providing compassionate and personalized care is incredibly important. It takes a highly skilled and specialty-trained plastic surgeon to perform DIEP flap breast reconstructions.
Is Breast Reconstruction Right for Me?
Patients who have one or both breasts removed are typically good candidates for a breast reconstruction surgery. Candidates can choose to undergo breast reconstruction during mastectomy or on a later date. Candidates should be cancer-free and in good overall health.
Patients who are non-smokers are the best candidates for this surgery; smokers will need to quit before the date of their procedure. Patients who have realistic expectations and are committed to the full recovery process are excellent candidates for breast reconstruction.
Your Breast Reconstruction Consultation
Dr. Ulm offers several different options for breast reconstruction after mastectomy. This allows him to tailor each procedure to meet the needs and goals of the patient. During your initial mastectomy or double mastectomy reconstruction consultation with Dr. Ulm, he will perform an evaluation of your overall health in order to ensure you are healthy enough for the procedure.
Next, Dr. Ulm will discuss the different options for breast-reconstruction surgery. After a thorough evaluation, the two of you will discuss your reasons for choosing to undergo surgery and your goals for the procedure. Dr. Ulm can then recommend the option that will provide you with your ideal results.
Your reconstruction options include:
- Deep inferior epigastric perforator (DIEP) flap (microsurgery)
- Immediate breast reconstruction with breast implant
- Pre-pectoral reconstruction (above the muscle) using ADM and implant
- Fat grafting
- Transverse rectus abdominis myocutaneous (TRAM) flap
- Latissimus dorsi flap
Each type of breast reconstruction offers its own unique set of advantages and issues. Taking the time to do research and asking questions during your consultation is the best way to understand why a certain approach may not be advantageous based on your situation and goals. Viewing our breast reconstruction before and after photos will also help to understand your potential results with our techniques.
Additionally, Dr. Ulm utilizes the latest technology to evaluate the health of the skin flaps and determine the safest option for a successful reconstruction.
Do I Need to Prepare for My Breast Reconstruction Surgery?
Once you decide to come in for breast reconstruction surgery, Dr. Ulm will provide you with instructions to prepare for the surgery and for the recovery period. Here are some instructions you may receive for preparation:
- Stop taking blood thinners – You will likely need to stop taking blood thinners at least two weeks prior to surgery. Medications like aspirin, naproxen, and ibuprofen can increase bleeding during and after breast reconstruction.
- Shower or bathe the night before – You must shower or bathe the night before your breast reconstruction surgery to ensure that the operative areas are clean.
- No eating or drinking – Do not eat or drink anything on the day of your surgery.
- No products – Do not apply moisturizer, deodorant, perfume, or makeup on the surgery date.
- No metal or jewelry – You will be advised to take out all body piercings and to avoid wearing any jewelry, including necklaces, rings, and wedding bands.
- Make transportation arrangements – You will need to arrange for someone to drive you home and take care of your needs during the initial recovery period. If you have children or pets, someone must be responsible for their care while you heal.
Breast Reconstruction Surgery
The length of time your breast-reconstruction procedure takes will depend on multiple factors, like whether implants or tissue flaps will be used.
In some cases, tissue expanders will be used to prepare the area for the final reconstruction. Tissue expanders are temporary prosthetics that are placed in the chest and gradually filled with saline over a period. Once the tissue in the area has expanded enough, the expanders are removed and the permanent implants or tissue are placed in the area.
Breast reconstruction using the flap approach is notably different than breast reconstruction using implants. In the flap approach, the patient’s own natural tissue is used construct a new breast. The tissue used to create the breast mound is harvested from areas of the body like the abdomen, buttocks, or back. In some cases, breast reconstruction can be performed using both the patient’s natural tissue and a breast implant.
The Results That Are Possible with Breast Reconstruction
When performed by a skilled and experienced surgeon, breast-reduction surgery is capable of providing natural-looking results. If the patient desires a smaller or larger breast size, Dr. Ulm can alter the size and shape of the breasts. Frequently, it is possible to give the breasts a more youthful appearance if desired.
A Perfectionist and a Professional
Dr. Ulm is a fantastic surgeon, and I couldn’t imagine getting better care while I was going through a difficult time.
I met Dr. Ulm only a few days after I found out that I required a double-mastectomy, and I’m so grateful for his care throughout the whole process – which included the surgical decisions, insurance billing, and follow-up. The entire staff went above and beyond.
He is a perfectionist and a professional, and I am so pleased with my results. I would insist on his care for my closest friends and family.
The Recovery and Healing Process
Swelling and bruising are to be expected. These issues will slowly dissipate over the coming weeks. Discomfort will be managed with medication. Other issues that may arise during the recovery period are a feeling of tightness in the breasts and occasional spasms.
It will take some time to fully recover from the procedure. Most people will need to take three to six weeks off of work. All strenuous activities will need to be avoided for a minimum of four to six weeks.
A thorough list of post-operative instructions will be provided that will make the entire recovery process easier. Post-operative visits will be scheduled frequently to ensure that the recovery process is going smoothly.
Breast Reconstruction Cost
Because it is a reconstructive surgical procedure, breast reconstruction cost is covered by health insurance providers. This includes the price of all reconstructive techniques.
Schedule Your Consultation Today
Contact Ulm Plastic Surgery today to schedule a consultation for your breast reconstruction in Charleston, SC. Dr. Ulm can provide you with all the information you need to know if breast reconstruction, including DIEP flap breast reconstruction, is right for you. Once you have decided that surgery is your ideal choice, he can provide you with the personalized results you deserve.