Breast Reconstruction

In San Jose, CA

Breast Reconstruction Introduction

Approximately 1/8 of U.S. women will develop invasive breast cancer throughout their lifetime. For many, breast cancer treatment can be physically, emotionally, and psychologically stressful, only to be exacerbated by feelings of loss of femininity and self-confidence from partial or complete removal of the breasts (mastectomy).

Fortunately, there are now many different options to rebuild or restore your breasts. Either implants or your own tissues (typically from your abdomen or back) can be used to create whole breasts after a mastectomy or your remaining breasts can be aesthetically reshaped after a lumpectomy (“oncoplastic reduction”). To learn more about how CA Aesthetics in Los Gatos, CA has been helping our patients in San Jose and the surrounding Bay Area relieve themselves of pain and give them a new sense of life, please continue reading the information we have provided below.

woman under covers | CA Aesthetics by Dr. Li

What is Breast Reconstruction?

Breast reconstruction is a surgical procedure that restores the shape of your breast after a partial or complete mastectomy (breast cancer removal or prevention surgery). Breast reconstruction often involves multiple procedures that are performed in stages and can either begin at the time of mastectomy or be delayed until a later date. 

Breast reconstruction generally falls into two categories: implant-based reconstruction, and flap reconstruction. Implant reconstruction uses breast implants to help form a new breast mound, whereas, flap (or autologous) reconstruction uses the patient’s tissue from another part of the body to form a new breast. Reconstruction can be performed on only one side if only one breast is affected, or on both sides (bilateral) if both breasts are affected.

It’s important to keep in mind that breast reconstruction won’t recreate the exact look and feel of your natural breasts but can restore the silhouette similar to what you had before your mastectomy.

Who are the best candidates for Breast Reconstruction?

You may be a good candidate for breast reconstruction in San Jose and the surrounding Bay Area if:

  • You can cope well with your diagnosis and treatment
  • Have recently had a mastectomy or are scheduled to have the surgery
  • You do not have additional medical conditions or other illnesses that may impair healing
  • You have a positive outlook and realistic goals for restoring your breast and body image

Dr. Li is ready to discuss breast reconstruction with you and assess whether this procedure is right for you.

What are the benefits of Breast Reconstruction?

There are a number of ways a San Jose and Bay Area breast reconstruction can benefit you! If you have had a mastectomy or are scheduled to get one, these are some of the commonly shared benefits of the procedure: 

  • Rebuild breast tissue removed from a previous mastectomy
  • Regain a sense of femininity and body shape
  • Achieves better symmetry between your breasts
  • Surgeries are coordinated with your breast cancer care team
blonde woman breast reconstruction | CA Aesthetics by Dr. Li

Breast Reconstruction First Step

What’s the first step?

The first step to getting breast reconstruction is to schedule a consultation with Dr. Eric Li at CA Aesthetics in Los Gatos, CA. During this meeting, he will explain what breast reconstruction involves and assess your desired outcomes. After a careful evaluation, along with a review of your medical and surgical history, Dr. Li will determine whether you are the right candidate for this procedure. Your consultation session is also your opportunity to discuss any concerns or questions you have. Upon completion of the assessment, Dr. Li will be able to create your surgical plan and our Patient Coordinator will coordinate the surgery with your oncology team

Prior to your procedure, you may be given a list of pre-operative instructions to prepare you for your breast reconstruction surgery. These instructions may include fasting for a certain amount of time or avoiding certain medications such as blood thinners. Dr. Li may also ask to see images and paperwork from your mastectomy, to ensure he is designing a surgical plan that will benefit you.

What to expect on the day of Breast Reconstruction surgery

On the day of your surgery, you will arrive at the hospital. If you are having a mastectomy first, then you will meet with your general surgeon first and Dr. Li will start his portion of the surgery once they are done and while you are still under anesthesia. If you are only having a procedure with Dr. Li, then he will meet you before surgery.

Breast Reconstruction Recovery

After your Mastectomy, you will typically be admitted to the hospital for a night of observation.  Maximum discomfort will occur in the first few days after surgery and gradually improve. 

Once you are released from the hospital, you will want to have a family member or friend drive you home and take care of you for the first week. You will be provided with a compression garment to wear; it is recommended that you wear this for 6 weeks to help you heal. You may also have some small surgical drains to remove excess fluid. Our team will provide you with a list of detailed instructions on how to take the best care of yourself.

You may experience temporary bruising, swelling, numbness, or a burning sensation involving your breasts and over areas you had liposuction (if applicable); bruising and swelling take several weeks to improve. We encourage you to avoid lifting more than 10 lbs for 4 weeks as a safety precaution. Scars may be red and firm for approximately 6 months before they soften and fade.

woman under covers | CA Aesthetics by Dr. Li

What Are The Stages of Breast Reconstruction?

First-Stage Breast Reconstruction

First-stage breast reconstruction usually involves the placement of a tissue expander, which is a temporary implant that can be expanded later. After a period of healing, the expander can then be used to stretch the tissues to create a better breast shape by filling the tissue expander with salt water (saline). The expansion process usually lasts 3 – 6 months and takes place over several office visits.

Second-Stage Breast Reconstruction

Second-stage breast reconstruction usually involves the removal of the tissue expander and replacement with a silicone implant or your own tissues. There is significant customization with this surgery, which may also involve ancillary procedures such as fat transfer to the breasts and further soft tissue support with an internal bra. If the mastectomy was only performed on only one side, then balancing procedures, such as breast lift, breast reduction, or breast augmentation can be performed on the other side to generate better symmetry between the two sides.

Third-Stage Breast Reconstruction

Third-stage breast reconstruction usually involves reconstruction of the nipple and areola, if necessary. This can be completed through a variety of techniques, which involve folding skin to create the shape of a nipple followed by tattooing, or using skin grafts to create skin resembling an areola. Three-dimensional nipple-areola tattooing may also be used to create the appearance of a realistic nipple areolar complex with the illusion of projection.  

Breast Reconstruction Cost

How much does a Breast Reconstruction cost in San Jose, CA?

Breast reconstruction in San Jose, Los Gatos, and the Bay area is covered by insurance, but depending on your specific plan, you may still have deducctibles and co-pays which require out-of-pocket payment. The best way to determine the total cost of your surgery is to come in for a consultation with Dr. Eric Li and then consult your insurance plan.


Why choose Dr. Li?

Dr. Eric Li, a Double Board-Certified plastic surgeon, is a member of the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS), Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC), and American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). He is one of the few surgeons in the Bay

Area who is fellowship trained in aesthetic and reconstructive breast surgery. At CA Aesthetics in Los Gatos, Dr. Li serves as the driving force behind transformative plastic surgery experiences. Known for his meticulous approach and compassionate care, Dr. Li caters to patients seeking aesthetic enhancements with a touch of sophistication, from San Jose to the broader Bay Area.

Breast Reconstruction FAQ’S

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Schedule a Consultation

If you are in San Jose or the greater Bay Area and would like to restore your breasts following your victory against breast cancer, breast reconstruction from Dr. Eric Li at CA Aesthetics in Los Gatos could be an excellent solution. To schedule your initial consultation, please contact our office or use our website to fill out a consultation request form. We look forward to taking the first step with you in your breast reconstruction journey.

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