Breast Reconstruction

Recovering from Breast Reconstruction


Recovering from Breast Reconstruction Surgery

Breast reconstruction surgery can make a dramatic difference in the lives of women who have experienced mastectomies after breast cancer.  The procedure can help lessen the emotion and physical toll of a mastectomy, and help restore self-confidence.

Breast cancer surgery and breast reconstruction can be performed in a seamless transtion, one right after the other, totaling between 4 to 7 hours of surgical time.  Through this blog, Dr. Tzvi Small reviews the recovery from breast reconstruction surgery, and what you can expect during the process.

How Do I Recover from Breast Reconstruction Surgery?

One of the most common questions that we receive about breast reconstruction surgery are regarding the amount of recovery time and what to expect post-surgery.  During a consultation with Dr. Tzvi Small, your individual procedure will be discussed with you entirely, so that you have a clear understanding of what to expect from the surgery and personal recovery.

Some women remain in the hospital for 1 to 2 days post-surgery.  For others, who have experienced the FLAP procedures, 5 to 6 days hospital stay can be expected.  The surgery does not interfere with chemotherapy or radiation.

Following surgery, a patient may experience a normal level discomfort.  While in the hospital, this pain level will be monitored, and pain medication will be administered.  Soreness, bruising, and swelling are normal for two to three weeks post-surgery.  There may be numbness and tightness along the area where tissue was removed, but this will diminish over time.

“How long will it take for me to get back to my normal activities?” is a question that Dr. Small encounters regularly.  For most women, regular activity can resume after 6 weeks post-surgery.  Dr. Small will discuss strenuous activities with you, and monitor when it is safe to return to all activities.

Following breast reconstruction, regular checkups and mammograms are essential.  Your physicians and Dr. Small will check to see your progress, and discuss any issue that may have arisen.

Learn More about Breast Reconstruction Surgery

If you are interested in learning more about breast reconstruction surgery, then do not hesitate to contact Dr. Tzvi Small today.  Dr. Small can answer all of your questions about the procedure, the recovery time, and what you can expect for final results.

You can learn more about breast reconstruction surgery and your individual needs by contact Dr. Tzvi Small and his cosmetic surgery team.  Dr. Small can help restore breasts making them look beautiful and natural in the process.  Learn how you can regain confidence in your contours with breast reconstruction surgery today.




Microsurgical Breast Reconstruction

What Can Microsurgical Breast Reconstruction Do For You?

A mastectomy can make some women feel like they have lost a piece of themselves.  A part of their femininity might have seemed to have disappeared in only a moment without any time for recourse.

Dr. Tzvi Small of Paramus, New Jersey can help with microsurgical breast reconstruction.  This breast reconstruction technique allows for Dr. Small to recreate the breast using natural tissues from a patient’s own body. These tissues lead to better recovery and beautifully natural results.

Through this blog, you will learn about some of the elements to microsurgical breast reconstruction, and find out if it could be a good fit for you.  Dr. Small believes that all women should feel confident and happy with their breasts throughout their lives—learn how this technique can help you regain confidence with your breasts too.

Microsurgical Breast Reconstruction Techniques

Today’s breast reconstruction techniques are ever changing, and there are now multiple ways to regain the breast shape that you want.  With autogenous breast reconstruction, the breast is reconstructed from your own tissues.  This technique yields results that not only look but feel natural too.  There are no prostheses that are necessary, and you can feel confident knowing that your breasts are naturally yours.

Microsurgical breast reconstruction involves the transportation of a “flap” of a patient’s tissue.  This tissue can be comprised of skin, fat, muscle, or blood vessels and is removed from the area around the abdominals or from the buttocks.  The tissue is attached to the chest to recreate the ‘chest mound’ or breasts.

When compared to traditional breast reconstruction techniques, a microsurgical flap allows for the abdominal tissues to heal more easily.  In addition, the results look beautiful and natural, and allow for countless women to regain confidence post-cancer treatment.

Microsurgical Flaps include:

  • DIEP Flap
  • SIEA Flap
  • Free TRAM Flap
  • Muscle sparing Free TRAM Flap

Dr. Tzvi Small is a microsurgical breast reconstruction expert, and will work with you to recreate the shape that you desire.  During an initial consultation, Dr. Small will go through all of your breast reconstruction options and help you find the option that works best for your individual needs.

With Dr. Small, you can rest assured that you have a doctor who is passionate about not only the end result, but also your care throughout the entire process.  Learn more about how microsurgical breast reconstruction can help you regain confidence and satisfaction with your body.

Learn More about Breast Reconstruction

If you are interested in learning more about microsurgical breast reconstruction, contact Dr. Small and his cosmetic surgery team.  They are here to answer all of your questions about the procedures, and help you to understand what procedure might be best for you.

While breast cancer treatments can take a large toll, microsurgical breast reconstruction techniques can help you to regain confidence in your own body.  Learn more about these revolutionary procedures and what they can do for you today!





Breast Reconstruction Considerations

Through cancer, a woman’s life is forever changed. While a mastectomy can help save a woman’s life, it also robs her of a natural part of her body. Breast reconstruction is done in order to restore the shape of a woman’s breast after a mastectomy. For our Bergen County breast reconstruction patients, breast reconstruction can be quite overwhelming. Dr. Tzvi Small understands the emotional and physical aspects of breast reconstruction and strives to provide each patient with the best in technology, the best in surgical techniques, and the best care available. He is a pioneer in the field of breast reconstruction and is one of the few surgeons in New Jersey who is able to perform DIEP flap breast reconstruction. DIEP flap breast reconstruction is one of the most difficult forms of breast reconstruction to perform and one of the most advanced forms of breast reconstruction available today.

Immediate Reconstruction and Delayed Reconstruction
Many patients prefer to undergo breast reconstruction at the same time as their mastectomy. Immediately after the mastectomy is completed, the breast reconstruction surgery begins. Advantages of immediate reconstruction include less scarring, the possibility of fewer surgeries, and the ability to awake to a “reconstructed” breast. Women who undergo immediate reconstruction commonly experience fewer psychological issues, including depression, than those who undergo delayed reconstruction.

Unfortunately, not every breast cancer patient will be able to undergo immediate reconstruction after having undergone a mastectomy. Patients who need radiation therapy or chemotherapy may benefit from waiting to undergo breast reconstruction until their treatments are completed. Some patients decide to delay reconstruction because the treatment of the cancer itself is their number one priority.

Breast Implant Reconstruction
There are two types of breast implant reconstruction: one-stage reconstruction and two-stage reconstruction. Seventy percent of breast reconstruction patients undergo breast implant reconstruction.

One-stage reconstruction (direct-to-implant reconstruction):
When a patient is a candidate for one-stage reconstruction, the breast implant is inserted immediately following the mastectomy without the use of tissue expanders.

Two-stage reconstruction (tissue expander-to-implant reconstruction):
Two-stage reconstruction is much more common than one-stage reconstruction. During this process, tissue expanders are placed at the time of the mastectomy (or later on for patients who choose delayed reconstruction). The tissue expanders are filled as much as possible during their placement. The expanders will be further expanded once the incisions have healed. This process stretches the skin so that an implant can be placed. This process can take months to complete. Once the skin has been stretched enough to form a pocket to hold the implant, the expander can be surgically removed, and the breast implant may be placed.

The DIEP flap procedure uses skin and fat from the lower abdomen to reconstruct a breast after mastectomy. Because the skin below the belly button has a similar feel to breast tissue, it is an ideal choice to replace missing breast tissue. A benefit of the DIEP flap procedure is that it is similar to a tummy tuck in that it flattens the abdomen. This procedure offers patients a quicker recovery time, less discomfort after surgery, a lowered risk of hernia, and a more natural look and feel of the reconstructed breast.

Breast Reconstruction Considerations
Bergen County plastic surgery patients have many considerations when undergoing breast reconstruction. Some of the considerations include nipple reconstruction, implant type, and autologous breast reconstruction. The many forms of breast reconstruction and revision surgeries can be a lot to consider. Our skilled, compassionate staff are happy to answer any questions you may have during your breast reconstruction treatment process.

While cancer may have robbed you of your natural breasts, Bergen County breast enlargement and breast reconstruction plastic surgeon Tzvi Small can help you restore the shape and appearance of your breasts after mastectomy.

Contact Tzvi Small, M.D., F.A.C.S. Today
To learn more about Bergen County breast reconstruction, please contact Dr. Tzvi Small today.

Single Stage Breast Reconstruction

We just returned from the Surgical Symposium in San Francisco with some great news! We will soon obtain the Spy Elite system which will greatly augment our ability to offer the latest technology in breast reconstruction! The Spy Elite is a laser system that performs an on-table angiography allowing Dr. Small to assess tissue perfusion. It can assist with flap design (ie DIEP and Microsurgical Flaps), help assess flap viability, and perhaps most importantly, demonstrate nipple and skin perfusion in a nipple sparing mastectomy. We are excited to be able to offer this system to our patients in the near future as it will greatly help in their care.
Dr. Small and the staff at Bergen Plastic Surgery are committed to offering the latest techniques and modalities to our patients. If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us!

Breast Reconstruction in 2011

This year will continue to bring new advances and exciting developments in this field. Review our website to find out the latest and most innovative techniques in the field of breast reconstruction including the use of acellular dermal matrix and microsurgical techniques and post-operative management. Bergen Plastic Surgery remains a source for the women of Bergen County New Jersey to find out about the latest and most cutting edge advances in the field of breast reconstruction.


For those joining us for the first time from either Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, welcome to our blog! We will be updating regularly on the latest in Plastic Surgical and Reconstructive procedures. Make sure to check out our site for more information, videos, and photos. And of course, feel free to give us a call if you need more information!

How does Dr Small decide between a DIEP vs SIEA vs Free Tram Flap?

Once it is determined during consultation that you are in fact a candidate for an autologous tissue flap to be harvested from your abdomen, the rest is up to your internal anatomy. Dr Small always first dissects out the Superficial Inferior Epigastric Arteries to evaluate their suitability for a flap to be based on them. Although the literature states that around 10-15% of patiens are candidates for the SIEA procedure, in fact, much fewer that that are safe candidates. We have found the flap to be much less reliable than a DIEP and better suited when the breast to be reconstriucted is very small. Dr. Small then explores the perforating vessels of the Deep Inferior Epigastric Artery. Those vessels are much beter suited for reconstruction ona regular basis. Rarely, usually when there has been prior gynecologic surgery, a free muscle sparing TRAM is performed if their is concern about the ability of the vessels to support the flap.

It is basically a factor of blood supply. The operation that is performed (DIEP vs SIEA vs Free TRAM) is the operation with the best blood supply to prevent fat necrosis with the least toll on the abdomen.

Two Surgical Team Approach

Dr. Small’s goal during the day of microsurgical breast reconstruction by either DIEP or other means, is to successfully transfer the flap to the breast area and to shape the new breast. This is a lengthy and complex procedure that is vastly shortened in duration by the use of a second microsurgical team. This vastly shortens OR time and helps to hasten recovery.

Preparing for my Consultation

Once you are scheduled for a breast reconstruction consultation our office will email you our “Guide to Breast Reconstruction”. The Guide contains most of what will be discussed in the consultation as well as discusses post-operative care and management. Instructions for showering, drain care, activities etc is all included in the Guide.

You should also review our website for details about the numerous procedures available. Afterwords, please feel free to review the video testimonials of our former patients who are now doing great years later.

How long is the recovery after a DIEP Flap?

Like any type of procedure, recovery after a DIEP Flap varies from patient to patient. We have had patients back to work in 3 weeks and some who have taken up to three months to resume pre-operative activities. We tell all preoperative patients that typical recovery after DIEP Flap surgery is around 6 weeks. That is six weeks until you are able to get back to your normal routine. Most people are standing completely upright after 10-14 days (as any tummy tuck patients). By the sixth week, they are driving completely on their own and may resume all normal preoerative activities. But again, it may be longer in some patients.

Patients who are the most motivated to do well, simply do better. A healthy and forward thinking attitude most certainly helps in the recovery. A strong social network is also invaluable.