Woman in sports bra before and after breast reconstruction

Breast Reconstruction

A mastectomy is a potentially life-saving breast cancer treatment. But the procedure can leave you feeling asymmetrical or incomplete.

At SP Plastic Surgery, LLC, we offer two forms of breast reconstruction: reconstruction with implants and the DIEP flap technique.

Learn how board-certified plastic surgeon Stephanie Peng in Plymouth, MN, can restore your figure following a mastectomy...

Woman in sports bra before and after breast reconstruction

How Can Breast Reconstruction Help You?

Restore Lost Breast Tissue

In some cases, the only way to effectively treat breast cancer is to remove one or both of the breasts. Although you can opt for a prosthesis, plastic surgery allows you to permanently restore your breast tissue and achieve the figure you had before breast cancer.

Improve Your Self-Esteem

Symmetrical breasts can help you feel more confident, no matter what you wear. Whether you choose saline or silicone implants or an autologous flap (a technique that uses your own tissue), you can expect beautiful, natural-looking results.

Gain Peace of Mind

Breast reconstruction using a flap has an incredibly high success rateover 98 percent. Under the care of a highly qualified, board-certified plastic surgeon like Dr. Peng, you can expect a quicker surgery, expedited recovery, and life-changing results at our Plymouth practice.

Want to Learn More about Your Options? Request a Consultation with Our Plastic Surgeon Today

If you've been faced with a breast cancer diagnosis, you need a qualified, compassionate team on your side. Dr. Stephanie Peng is a renowned plastic surgeon who has helped many women restore their figures after breast cancer. In addition to being board-certified, she is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

Her office is conveniently located in Plymouth, just ten miles from Minneapolis, Minnesota. To schedule a consultation at her practice, request an appointment online or call us:

(763) 999-4170

Dr. Stephanie Peng
Dr. Stephanie Peng
1

Elaine I.

June 2019

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One of the best doctors I've ever known. Since I first met with Dr Peng in October 2017 she has been open and caring. She listens to me before she makes suggestions on my care. That's because I can see she really cares!

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Thrunk C.

March 08, 2019

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Dr. Peng is a wonderful doctor who is communicative, professional, and extremely reassuring. If you need a hand injury specialist I cannot recommend her enough. I always feel well informed and listened to. She clearly cares for and respects her patients.

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Implant-Based Reconstruction

If you choose to undergo reconstruction with breast implants (similar to breast augmentation surgery) at our Plymouth office, Dr. Peng will place a tissue expander and Alloderm® donor tissue between your pectoralis muscle and chest wall at the same time as your mastectomy. Although the process of breast reconstruction with implants varies from person to person, you can generally expect several steps:

1st Surgery

During your mastectomy, Dr. Peng will place a tissue expander and a product called Alloderm on the chest wall. The expander will stretch the skin to accommodate an implant, while the Alloderm tissue will protect your skin from trauma and keep your expander in the proper position. In some cases, the expander is partially filled at this time.

Expansion

If you wish to increase your breast size, you may begin the expansion process two to four weeks after your initial procedure. Every one to two weeks, you will visit our office to have saline slowly injected into the expander via a small injection. Because your muscle tissue and skin are expanding during the process, it is normal to feel some tightness after each appointment, but this sensation should resolve within a couple of days. In most cases, expansion is complete two months after the placement of the expander.

2nd Procedure

Approximately four to five months after your initial surgery (as long as chemotherapy and radiation therapy for breast cancer are complete), Dr. Peng will schedule your second phase. During the procedure, Dr. Peng will remove the expander and replace it with a permanent breast implant. The Alloderm tissue will be absorbed by your body and help your implant stay in place.

Recovery

Most women need about four to six weeks to recover from their surgeries. During this time, it's important to rest and take it easy. If you have a physically demanding job, you should take the full six weeks off of work. 

Breast Reconstruction with a DIEP Flap

The second type of breast reconstruction we offer at our Plymouth office is deep inferior epigastric perforator (DIEP) flap surgery. The deep inferior epigastric artery (DIEA) runs through the abdomen, branching out into small perforators that penetrate through the muscles and fat into the overlying skin. When abdominal tissue is removed, the accompanying main artery and its DIEPs are also removed with it. These DIEPs can then be connected to the internal mammary artery, allowing for blood flow to the new breast mound. Because there is blood flow to the area, the belly tissue has a better chance of survival in the chest wall.

Breast reconstruction with a DIEP flap is a good option for women who want to use their own tissue to restore the breast. DIEP reconstruction may be performed at the same time as a mastectomy or during a later date. During a DIEP reconstruction, Dr. Peng will use skin and fat from the lower abdomen to reconstruct the breast mound.

Breast reconstruction using the flap technique can take anywhere from six to eight hours for unilateral reconstruction and ten to twelve hours for bilateral reconstruction. Although breast reconstruction with a DIEP flap varies from patient to patient, you can generally expect:

Extraction of Abdominal Tissue

Dr. Peng will carefully remove skin and fat from the lower abdomen through a horizontal incision across the stomach.

Breast Incisions

The type of breast incisions Dr. Peng creates will depend on what type of mastectomy you have.

Creation of DIEP Flap

Dr. Peng will reconstruct the breast mound by connecting the DIEA and blood vessels to their new home in the chest wall. The remaining tissue flap will be tucked under the skin to create a reconstructed breast.

Sutures

The DIEP flap will then be sewn into the breast skin with absorbable sutures, creating a new breast mound. 

Recovery

Patients who opt for the flap technique will need to stay in the hospital for four to six days. During this time, nurses will check the flap every hour to ensure that the newly connected blood vessels have adequate blood flow. You will receive your fluids intravenously for the first day, and you can eat and drink after the second day. Although recovery varies, most patients can fully return to their normal activities in six weeks. 

Which Type of Breast Reconstruction Surgery Is Right for You?

The decision to undergo a breast reconstruction procedure is a very personal choice

If you prefer to use your own tissue rather than a lifelong prosthesis or breast implant (which will need to be replaced every decade or so), reconstruction with a tissue flap may be a better option for you. Flap reconstruction also eliminates the risk of complications like implant rupture and capsular contracture. If you've had complications with your implants in the past, the flap technique may also be better suited for you. 

Every Reconstruction Is Designed on an Individual Basis

​To determine whether implants or a DIEP flap are right for you, Dr. Peng will consider:

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The stage, size, and location of the cancerous tissue

The type of mastectomy you undergo

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The initial size of your breasts and your desired results

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Whether you have enough tissue for an autologous graft

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Your age, lifestyle, and long-term outlook

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Your health (aside from breast cancer)

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Your desired treatment timeline

Whether you decide to undergo additional enhancement to your nipple or nipples

Still Have Reservations? Rest Assured

Many women are hesitant to undergo reconstruction with a DIEP flap because of the long anesthesia time and the six-week recovery. But Dr. Peng uses a two-surgeon approach to reduce operating room time. To make the procedure as comfortable as possible, she also provides surgery candidates with:

  • Medication before surgery to ensure your complete comfort
  • A catheter in the donor site that infuses local anesthetic into the abdominal incision for three days after surgery

For many patients, the benefits of a DIEP breast reconstruction are well worth the longer surgical time and extensive recovery. But no matter what type of reconstruction you choose, Dr. Peng will provide a detailed list of pre- and post-operative instructions at our Plymouth office to guide you through a safe surgery and smooth recovery. She will also provide full disclosure about the risks of each type of surgery to help you make an informed choice.

1

Amanda

March 12, 2016

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Experience with dr. Peng has been absolutely wonderful so far I have completed two surgeries with her once I left and a panniculectomy and I'm scheduled for some other surgeries I find her to be open honest compassionate non-judgemental and an excellent surgeon I have recommended her to co-workers and they too are also satisfied with the results

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1

Healthgrades User

June 2019

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I have been a patient of Dr Peng's since October 2017 and she has always been super polite, professional, and caring! She listens first, always makes me feel like she wants to understand me and my needs before making any suggestions for next steps. Others have come with me to my appointments with Dr Peng and have been impressed with your skill and understanding. Being Dr Peng's patient has been one of the wisest decisions in my life.

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Is Breast Reconstruction Surgery Covered by Insurance?

Many women affected by breast cancer are worried that they can't afford to work with a plastic surgeon for their treatment. But women with breast cancer are protected by the law

The Women's Health and Cancer Rights Act of 1998 (WHCRA) requires health plans and insurance companies that cover mastectomies to also provide coverage for reconstructive procedures after a mastectomy. According to this law, all stages of breast reconstruction must be covered, including cosmetic concerns and complications.

With help from your insurance, you can afford the highly personalized and professional care of Dr. Peng, a top plastic surgeon, at our Plymouth practice.

SP Plastic Surgery, LLC

Dr. Stephanie Peng is a board-certified plastic surgeon who closely partners with every patient to achieve their aesthetic goals. She is affiliated with various national organizations, including: 

  • American Society of Plastic Surgeons
  • American Board of Plastic Surgery

Together with Dr. Jennifer Harrington, she provides patients with life-changing surgical care and transformative results. To request a consultation with our doctors, contact our Plymouth office online or call us at (763) 999-4170.

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Harrington Associates

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Plymouth, MN 55441

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