Breast Cancer Reconstruction Surgery

Goals of breast reconstruction include;

  • Restore form and function following lumpectomy or mastectomy.
  • Emphasis is placed on superior breast aesthetics.
  • Giving you the options you deserve.

Restoration of form and function is one of the tenants of plastic surgery and breast reconstruction, specifically, epitomizes this mantra. Every woman has the right to reconstruction following an oncologic breast procedure. Breast cancer can be removed from the area of occurrence only (lumpectomy) or with the entirety of the breast (mastectomy). The procedure that is best for you depends on a number of factors and will be a decision made between you and your breast cancer surgeon. Regardless, as a plastic surgeon my philosophy is that the breast and patient should be restored to whole.

In order to ensure that my patients receive the best care, I have extensively researched and published articles on breast cancer and reconstructive techniques. Furthermore, I co-invented a product, FlexHD® Pliable MAX, manufactured by MTF Biologics and used in breast reconstruction around the world. The impetus for this invention was a desire to help surgeons and their patients achieve a more consistently beautiful reconstructive result. My goal is to always create an aesthetically pleasing breast so that my patients feel confident and rejuvenated.

Breast Reconstruction Procedure


When one or both breasts are removed, patients often experience a sense of loss and disfigurement. Breast reconstruction, whether immediate or delayed, proportionately restores shape and volume to mirror your pre-operative appearance. An aesthetic vision guides the reconstructive process as this is paramount to restoring a sense of normalcy.

What to Expect

All procedures are done in a balanced and natural esthetic.


During the in-depth consultation we will thoroughly review your goals and expectations. Additionally, we will discuss your cancer history including any need for chemotherapy or radiation as well as previous breast surgery that you may have had. My objective is to provide you with an understanding of your reconstructive options so that we can decide on the best treatment strategy for you. It is natural to have a lot of questions during this time. I recommend that patients spend some time making a list so that you will feel confident in your decision at the end of our consultation.


Surgery is performed at an accredited surgery center or hospital in Newport Beach, California, USA and typically lasts 2+ hours (not including the mastectomy portion if done concurrently) depending on the reconstructive requirements. Under the care of a Board Certified Anesthesiologist, general anesthesia (fully asleep) is used to ensure maximal comfort and safety.

The breast cancer surgeon generally dictates the incision location in order to facilitate safe and complete removal of the cancer. If your mastectomy was completed prior to your consultation (delayed reconstruction), your existing incisions are used during the reconstruction.


On occasion, breast reconstruction can be performed as an outpatient procedure, but more commonly requires an overnight stay to ensure your absolute comfort. The procedure is generally well tolerated and I ask my patients to avoid strenuous exercise for 6 weeks following the procedure in order to ensure optimal healing.


The results of breast reconstruction are intended to be long lasting; however, patience is essential as multiple procedures may be required to fine-tune the aesthetics of the outcome.


The answer to this question depends on the type of reconstruction you undergo. If you are a candidate for a direct to implant reconstruction, the final implants are placed at the time of the initial surgery. If you require a tissue expander, then a subsequent procedure will be required to exchange the expander for a permanent implant. Regardless of the type of reconstruction, however, many patients elect to undergo anywhere from 1-3 rounds of fat grafting to improve the contour of the reconstructed breast. The mastectomy interrupts the natural softness of the breast, leading to the harsh and unnatural appearance often seen following implant only reconstruction.

Fat grafting involves the removal of fat from elsewhere on your body (most commonly the abdomen) using liposuction and transplanting it to your breasts. The transplanted fat re-establishes the natural softness to the breast contour over the implant. Unfortunately, only approximately 40% of this fat survives the relocation procedure, meaning a second and rarely a third round of fat grafting is often required. It is worth mentioning that approximately 1 in 12-15 patients experiences a complication (infection, skin loss, seroma and capsular contracture just to name a few) following breast reconstruction. This rate is consistently supported by the plastic surgery literature and depends on a variety of pre-disposing factors that we will discuss during your consultation. The need for post-operative radiation can further increase this risk. Any post-operative complication may increase the number of procedures required to achieve a stable reconstructive result.

The decision to undergo a nipple-sparing mastectomy (nipple preservation) or skin-sparing mastectomy (no nipple preservation) is one that will be made with your breast surgeon. In some cases, the breast surgeon may feel that your chance of a disease-free survival is improved by removing the nipple. This is because the nipple contains milk ducts, the cells of which can be a harbinger of cancer. Although many studies have demonstrated the oncologic safety of nipple-sparing mastectomy, there are some instances in which this is not recommended. If your nipple is removed, I will offer nipple re-creation once a stable reconstruction has been achieved. This is a simple, outpatient procedure that does not require any downtime.

Once a stable reconstruction has been achieved, the contralateral breast will be matched in size and shape. It is important to understand that the two breasts are different; one has breast tissue and the other does not. They will always behave and feel different. Therefore, the goal of a symmetry procedure is to achieve breasts that are similar, not identical. Symmetry procedures include breast reduction and breast augmentation with or without a breast lift.

Before & After

Stunning, natural breast results from patients.

Request a Consultation


Receive an in-depth consultation where we will thoroughly review your goals to personalize a plan focused on a natural and aesthetic result. Dr. Donald S. Mowlds, MD is located in beautiful Newport Beach, CA but is also available via a virtual consultation for out-of-town patients.

    Breast Procedures

    All procedures are done in a balanced and natural esthetic.

    Breast augmentation utilizes silicone or saline implants to enhance both breast volume and shape.

    A breast lift, or mastopexy, involves repositioning the breast tissue and nipple on the chest wall, restoring a youthful appearance and feel.

    Breast implants are not lifetime devices. As such, many women ultimately require revisionary breast procedures to replace their implants. Breast shape changes with time so revision breast surgery often includes additional procedures designed to create a natural, youthful breast.

    Implant removal surgery involves removing existing breast implants and the surrounding scar tissue (capsule). The breasts are often re-shaped to optimize aesthetics.

    During breast reduction surgery, breast tissue and skin are removed, contouring the breast into a smaller more aesthetically pleasing shape.

    Restoration of form and function is one of the tenants of plastic surgery and breast reconstruction, specifically, epitomizes this mantra.

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    Services & Procedures

    All procedures are done in a balanced and natural esthetic.