Expert Doctor

Breast Reconstruction

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Mossi Salibian, MD, FACS

West Hollywood, CA

Breast Reconstruction

The world of plastic surgery is extremely vast, extending far beyond simple cosmetic capabilities and serving to improve patient quality of life through reconstruction. Plastic surgery’s reconstructive abilities have long been established, and the techniques doctors use are improving every day. One of the most common reconstructive surgeries is breast reconstruction. When a patient has lost a breast (or both breasts) to cancer, one way she can reclaim her previous, healthy life is through breast reconstruction.



Breast reconstruction is a popular option for patients whose breasts have been removed following a mastectomy. Essentially, it is the rebuilding of the breast, either with prosthetics or with the patient’s own tissue. Many times, the procedure involves creating the nipple and areola areas as well. Anyone whose breast is removed is a candidate for this procedure, and in cases of mastectomies due to breast cancer, insurance will often cover the costs of the surgery.



The risks of breast reconstruction vary depending on the technique employed by the surgeon.  Different techniques bring different risks.  As with any surgery, there are the standard risks of infection, bleeding, and anesthetic issues.  If it’s an implant-based reconstruction, then there could be implant-related complications like infection, or capsular contracture (when scar tissue forms around the implant). If the surgeon is doing a flap reconstruction, which is when they use the patient’s own tissues for reconstruction, then it could produce complications that are related to that technique. There could be wound-healing issues, or fat necrosis, or infection.  

Additionally, the level of risk will vary depending upon the patient’s overall health, and patients should expect a lengthy recovery time (about two weeks longer than regular cosmetic breast augmentation). It’s important to note, however, that the risks are relatively small compared to many other types of surgeries, and the potential benefits for the patients are significant.  For someone who needed to have one or both breasts removed, reconstruction could mean the chance to feel whole and “normal” again.



The best way to minimize complication risks is to choose the right surgeon. Though there is no way to guarantee a complication-free procedure, a board-certified plastic surgeon and an experienced surgeon will dramatically increase the odds of a good result. It’s critical that the prospective patient meet with the surgeon beforehand to discuss the procedure, and ensure that they have a good rapport and a clear understanding of what the patient wants and needs. Of course, there are many other factors in selecting the right doctor for a procedure of this nature, but patients should always check a doctor’s credentials, previous work, and board certification before proceeding with any surgery.



Breast reconstruction is a wonderful option for patients who have undergone a breast removal. With modern medicine, patients can maintain a sense of normalcy in their lives without having to bear permanent reminders of their illness. If you are considering a breast reconstruction, remember not to be afraid to ask questions and seek the help you need. There are many options out there—choose a doctor who will help you choose the right procedure for you.


Written by Cosmetic Town Editorial Team based on an exclusive interview provided by Dr. Mossi Salibian in West Hollywood, CA.