Mastectomies are life-saving surgeries designed to remove breast cancer. While effective, these surgeries often leave women feeling incomplete. Houston plastic surgeon, Dr. Leo Lapuerta, is a breast reconstruction specialist that works with cancer patients in the greater Houston, Pearland, and Katy areas to help them regain their self-confidence. His goal is to surgically rebuild the breasts to restore an original appearance by creating a natural shape and contour, while at the same time, ensuring they are symmetrical. Dr. Lapuerta will work with the cancer surgeon towards a mutual goal so that the best surgical outcome can be achieved.
"Dr. Lapuerta performed Kybella on my chin. I could not be happier with my RESULTS! He was very honest, professional and caring to my concerns and my goals. HE is the BEST!"- B.C. / Google / Aug 31, 2016
"This review only contains a rating"- H.G. / Google / Nov 17, 2016
"I want you to know that Dr. Lapuerta and hist patient coordinator, Brandi and his entire staff are phenomenal. He did a full tummy tuck, implant replacement during a hysterectomy. The surgery was long. He gave me his cell and he couldn't have been more caring. His bed side manners make you feel so..."- M.G. / Healthgrades / Nov 16, 2016
"I want you to know that Dr. Lapuerta and hist patient coordinator, Brandi and his entire staff are phenomenal. I was recommended to them by my Obgyn, Dr. Baden ( also amazing) to see him after discussing needing a hysterectomy and wanting to do a tummy tuck as well if I was going to do that. And My Obgyn highly recommend Dr. Lapuerta to do the surgery with him and do it all together. I was very nervous of course. But, I went and met with Lapuerta and Brandi and was INSTANTLY comfortable and felt they were the perfect fit for me. My Case was long. It was 7.5 h our surgery. I would say I am in pretty good shape, just had 5 babies in 5 years that did a number on my body. The surgery and recovery ( i am 4 weeks out) was in NO WAY easy. But, Dr. Lapuerta took wonderful care of me. I had his cell number and he answered as soon as I would call. He also replaced my 15 year old implants along with the full tummy tuck and I am THRILLED! I would not use anyone else but Dr. Lapuerta for future surgeries. His bed side manner is kind, warm and you NEVER feel rushed. Brandi is just as fabulous and again, never feeling rushed or like your asking stupid questions. And with as much surgery I was having , I ask a ton of questions. I have no doubt if you use him for surgery you will be so happy. You, will love his patience and kindness. He truly cares about you and your over all health and well being. I want to thank him and Brandi for making my experience as easy as it could be. AMAZING! I still have a ton of swelling and healing, however, I am already in love with the way i look! Dr. Lapuerta did EXACTLY what he said he would do. He made me look a million times better. I want to thank Dr. Lapuerta for making me a new women with confidence again. And Thank you Brandi for your kindness throughout the whole process."- H.H. / Facebook / Nov 16, 2016
"Wow.... I love Dr. Lapuerta. He is never in a hurry and always listens to me. His staff is also awesome! I look forward to my appointments."- C.M. / Google / Nov 15, 2016
Things to Consider@headingTag>
During the first consultation to discuss breast reconstruction surgery, it is important for patients to disclose where they are in the treatment process and which cancer surgeon provided treatment. Our office will require patients to provide any necessary pathology reports. The reconstruction process may take place in multiple steps if the breast tissue needs to be stretched to make room for implants. This discovery phase will help guide the reconstruction process so patients end up with a new breast that is the size, shape and look they want.
Each reconstruction technique will be tailored according to the patient’s physical health, aesthetic goals, and personal preferences. There are many factors playing into the approach that will be taken. The ultimate goal is to ensure the patient is healthy and happy with their final breast results.
There are two primary categories of breast reconstruction techniques:
Procedures that involve using a breast implant
Procedures that are autologous (use the patient’s own body’s tissue to reconstruct and recreate the breast)
Reconstruction With Implants@headingTag>
Breast reconstruction using silicone or saline implants is a common approach that generally starts with the use of a tissue expander to help form a suitable pocket for an implant. The expander may be inserted after the mastectomy procedure or during the same operative session. Over the course of several months, the expander will slowly be enlarged using a sterile solution injected through a port residing under the skin. During the scheduled reconstruction surgery, the expanders are removed and replaced with silicone or saline implants.
If there is limited tissue inside the breast, or limited skin on the outside, tissue may be used from another part of the patient’s body to supplement this loss. The most common areas to support this process are the buttocks, thigh or abdomen. This is an autologous approach to breast reconstruction. The TRAM flap (Transverse Rectus Abdominus Myocutaneous), the DIEP flap and SIEA flap techniques involve taking skin and fat from the abdomen and relocating it to the breast. The latissimus dorsi flap is another common method using tissue from the patient’s back.
During a mastectomy, the nipple and areola often cannot be saved. The loss of one’s nipple and areola can be as unnerving as the removal of the breast itself. However, reconstruction techniques have advanced greatly, allowing plastic surgeons the opportunity to recreate these areas of the breast to give a natural, aesthetically appealing appearance. In a separate procedure, the nipple is created using existing breast skin or from the abdominal or latissimus flap. Using a tattoo technique, the areola is recreated with a skin graft taken from the thigh, abdomen or back.
Breast reconstruction surgery is performed under general anesthesia at an accredited surgical facility. Some patients may be required to stay in the hospital to be monitored for complications. Patients who have had reconstruction using a flap technique will usually be required to stay in the hospital for 2-5 days. The recovery process can be somewhat lengthy, but many view it as the final step in their cancer journey thus the experience can be very rewarding. Most women are thankful to have had the opportunity to restore their breasts and are satisfied with their results.
The Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act of 1997 has made it possible for many women to undergo breast reconstruction surgery without the burden of a heavy financial cost. The act states that insurance companies and managed care organizations are required to pay for breast reconstruction for women who have had a mastectomy. It supports all phases of the cancer treatment and reconstruction process. Our insurance and billing office will work with the provider to understand exactly what the coverage will be.
Plan Your Procedure
- Average Cost
- $5,000 - $15,000
- Recovery Time
- 1-3 Weeks
- Average Procedure Time
- 2-6 Hours
- Post-op Follow-up
- 1 Week
- Procedure Recovery Location
- In & Outpatient
Breast Reconstruction FAQs@headingTag>
This is a very specialized surgery that requires extensive knowledge, skill, and experience. It is very important to research and find a qualified and reputable plastic surgeon who has experience with breast reconstruction surgery.
Can I Delay This Surgery?@headingTag>
In many situations, it is recommended to start the reconstruction process at the same time as the mastectomy. Therefore, it is a good idea to have your breast cancer surgeon and your plastic surgeon begin communicating about the steps that will follow. An advantage of doing the procedure immediately is waking up from your mastectomy surgery with the reconstruction process in place. The soft tissue that surrounds the breast will heal simultaneously with the reconstruction, which can enhance the final results.
A reconstructed breast will not have the same sensation as the breast did before the mastectomy. However, over time, some of this sensation will return to normal. This will depend on the extent of the reconstruction process and will vary by patient.