About Breast Reconstruction
Our board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Jay Shenaq, is passionate about breast reconstruction. Known throughout Houston, TX and the surrounding area, Dr. Shenaq is the plastic surgeon many oncology doctors refer their patients to for their breast restoration as a final step in cancer recovery. Breast reconstruction is also common following traumatic accidents or to fix birth defects. We provide multiple techniques (including creating a tissue flap, a tissue expander, and/or breast implants to restore the shape of the breasts) to help you design a personalized treatment plan to restore your body and confidence.
Breast Reconstruction Reviews
"Following a diagnosis of breast cancer my breast surgeon referred me to Dr. Shenaq. I thank god for that every day- I had a double masectomy and Dr. Shenaq has given me so much- I look like I had an excellent augmentation instead of having a double breast reconstruction. I was so scared and convinced if I didn't die from the cancer I would be horribly deformed. Instead, I find myself smiling when I look in the mirror. His patience, skill and kindness made what was one of the worst things in my life a whole lot better. I would see him if I needed any kind of plastic surgery- elective or not. His staff feels like family. I can't say enough good about Dr. Shenaq, he has helped me feel and look like the woman I am. Which is no small thing following breast cancer. He is out of my insurance network and promised I would never pay more than what I would in-network and he has kept his word. Again, a huge thing when dealing with somehting like this. I can't say enough good about him."- Anonymous / RateMDs / Jul 18, 2011
"Go meet Dr Shenaq and his staff: Marci, Brenda, and Veronica. I was hesitant to undergo breast reconstruction after a mastectomy 9 yrs earlier. I'm forever thankful to my breast care surgeon, Dr Arlene Ricardo, for pointing me in the direction of Dr. Shenaq. During the process I had cancer again and a second mastectomy. Dr Shenaq and his team have taken very good care of me and my fears proved unfounded. His work has made me feel good because it looks good! I don't think I could have had a better experience with another group. If you are hesitant like I was, at least just go talk to him and meet his staff. Just go!"- J.C. / Yelp / Oct 28, 2015
"I met Dr Shenaq when my best friend had breast cancer. He took so much time to carefully explain the procedure to her. I was so impressed with this surgeon that when I came down with breast cancer in my left breast I immediately made my appointment with Dr. Shenaq. I had a double skin sparing mastectomy with reconstruction, and yes this plastic surgeon did a phenomenal job! Dr. Shenaq and his staff took such good care of me, they are very understanding, and really care about you. I could not be happier with the outcome of my surgery. Westside surgical center is where my surgery took place. If you want phenomenal patient care, this is the place to be. Dr. Shenaq with his particular care, really made me look and feel good about myself quickly."- L.M. / Yelp / Nov 03, 2015
"I can not say enough about Dr. Shenaq and his staff. He is an amazing caring, talented and highly skilled surgeon. I thank God for him. After a double mastectomy and diep flap reconstruction, I am well, whole again and look better than I ever have. Breast cancer is very scary. When you are diagnosed, you face alot of unknowns. I could not have placed myself in better hands. Now that my reconstruction journey is over, I am going to miss Dr. Shenaq's smiling face and the smiling faces of his amazing staff."- Anonymous / RateMDs / Mar 12, 2016
"Dr. Shenaq gave me back my body following breast cancer.... – I can't say enough about Dr. Shenaq. I met him under the worst possible circumstances-I had just been told by cancer breast surgeon I would be having a double masectomy. From that day forward, Dr. Shenaq has been skilled, kind and compassionate. I do not look like I had a total breast reconstruction- my chest looks awesome (which is not something I ever thought I would say publically). He took me from despair to feeling great about myself. There was none of that crap of "well, we'll see if we can make it look ok"...it was always "You are going to look amazing"...and that is what a woman who has had breast cancer needs to hear after all of the fears have hit her like a tidal wave. He has me in his office every step of the way, making sure everything is healing as it should. No rushing the process. Strict rules- but worth it-it has kept infection away and the results speak for themselves. I talk and see many women who have gone through this this across the country- and I feel badly for so many of them that they don't have their own Dr. Shenaq. He is a great surgeon, as well as an artist. He didn't promise me a miracle, but he certainly gave me one. His staff is as spectacular as he is."- A. / Citysearch / Jul 18, 2011
Autologous Tissue Transfers
DIEP (deep inferior epigastric perforator) flap reconstruction is an advanced technique used in breast reconstruction after mastectomy in which excess abdominal skin and fat are removed from the lower abdomen to reconstruct the breast. In DIEP flap reconstruction, the blood vessels are safely separated from the muscle using a microsurgical technique while preserving the muscular integrity. The abdominal tissue is completely detached from the abdomen with its blood vessels and reattached to the small blood vessels in the breast area using vessels between the ribs resulting in a microsurgical transfer. Once this is complete, the flow of the blood to the tissue is restored. The tissue is then shaped to form the new breast. The procedure is less invasive than previous methods resulting in less postoperative pain and faster recovery. Also, the procedure leaves a horizontal scar on the lower abdomen similar to that created in tummy tuck resulting in a more pleasing abdominal contour.
- SIEA (superficial inferior epigastric artery) flap reconstruction where the difference from the DIEP flap reconstruction that the blood vessels are more superficial and they travel in the fatty parts of the abdominal tissue. Therefore, it requires less dissection, but usually, the blood vessels are very small and not all patients are candidates for this procedure.
- SGAP (superior gluteal artery perforator) flap reconstruction is ideal for those who do not have enough excess abdominal tissue. These women may have a breast reconstructed from fat and skin from the upper part of the buttock area. This is done without sacrificing the underlying gluteal muscle. This procedure is considerably more demanding and lengthy because it requires Dr. Shenaq to change the position of the patient during surgery.
- TRAM (transverse rectus abdominus myocutaneous) flap reconstruction uses the lower abdominal skin and fat are transferred to the breast area by keeping the tissue attached. This procedure requires the sacrifice of the rectus muscle and is more invasive and might leave the patient with a lower abdominal bulge or a hernia. Candidates for this procedure often opt for the DIEP flap in order to preserve the rectus muscle and avoid future abdominal complications.
- Latissimus flap reconstruction utilizes the muscle on the back latissimus dorsi. This flap, usually used in combination with a tissue expander or an implant because of the limitation of the amount of breast tissue in that area. It leaves the patient with the scar on the back, and this procedure is advised only when the previous options are not available.
Implant based reconstructions
Breast reconstruction with a tissue expander or an implant is a common breast reconstruction technique, which involves expansion of the breast skin and muscle using a temporary tissue expander (an inflatable implant designed to stretch the skin and the muscle to make space for a future implant). After completion of the expansion process (2-3 months later), the expander is exchanged with a silicone or saline implant, which is done in the office. Although this technique requires two small separate surgeries, it is less invasive than other procedures and has a faster recovery time. The process of expansion usually begins 2-4 weeks after mastectomy, and continues until the desired size is achieved.
The AeroForm Tissue Expander
AeroForm is designed for women who want to take their breast cancer head on, and want to undergo breast reconstruction on their terms and their timeline. AeroForm is a revolutionary needle-free, patient controlled breast tissue expander for women who choose to have reconstructive surgery following a mastectomy. Unlike traditional tissue expanders, which require weekly doctor visits and expansion with saline injected by a needle, AeroForm patients are able to reach full expansion with just a push of a button. AeroForm is designed to bring control, convenience and comfort to the breast reconstruction process.
Second Stage Procedures
Dr. Shenaq's main goal of breast reconstruction is to restore breast shape, size, and symmetry in order to achieve an aesthetically pleasing outcome. Additional procedures to obtain symmetry may be necessary after the original reconstruction. This is to ensure the reconstructed breasts are as close as possible in shape, size, and have the same position of the nipples.
Our secondary procedures are:
- Nipple reconstruction: This is usually required in the patient who had their nipples removed during their mastectomy.
- Breast augmentation: An implant is often required to match the size of the breasts and to gain symmetry.
- Breast lift/breast reduction: Women with one reconstructed breast after a mastectomy usually will have a lift or reduction
- Fat grafting: This secondary procedure is usually combined with implant reconstruction or partial breast deformity, after lumpectomy, or a previous flap surgery.
Do I Qualify?
Breast reconstruction surgery is common to restore one or both breasts after:
- A mastectomy or lumpectomy
- A traumatic injury that damaged the breast tissue
- Congenital/birth defects such as tubular or unsymmetrical breasts
- Extreme weight loss
What to Expect
There are three common breast reconstruction techniques:
- Transferring skin, muscle, and fat tissue from other areas to the breast
- Using a tissue expander to create space and then placing an implant
- A combination of implant and natural tissue enhancements
You may also need nipple reconstruction, breast augmentation, a breast lift, breast reduction, or a combination of these surgeries to enhance symmetry and provide the best aesthetic results. If only one breast is being reconstructed, the surgeon will try to match the reconstructed breast to your natural breast.
To create a tissue flap, the surgeon will remove a section of skin, fat, and muscle from one area of the body to move it to the breast. Tissue may be taken from the abdomen, upper back, or buttocks. Surgeons may also use a tissue expander to gradually enlarge and open space for an implant. When the skin has been stretched to the needed size, the expander will be removed and replaced with either a silicone or saline implant.
The Women's Health and Cancer Act (WHCA) was signed into federal law in 1998 and requires that health insurance companies cover breast reconstruction surgery after breast cancer. For more information on this law and breast cancer, please visit www.cancer.org.
Plan Your Procedure
- Procedure Recovery Location
We understand that losing the breasts as a result of cancer or an accident can result in lowered self-esteem, but having a breast reconstruction surgery may help your physical and emotional recovery. Please contact our office to schedule your consultation and learn about your breast reconstruction options.