Houston Breast Reconstruction and Reduction by Dr. John K. Long

Quite a few women are gifted beyond their dreams with large, heavy, and pendulous breasts that can present chronic health problems for them. In addition, one woman in nine is dramatically affected by breast cancer and the subsequent deforming surgery or radiation. Dr. John K. Long can use breast reduction to reduce the size of large breasts, and breast reconstruction methods to return a sense of wholeness for women who have lost a breast due to cancer, injury, or disease.

Dr. Long’s goal for all of his breast procedures is a beautiful and natural result that brings pleasure to the patient who has long suffered from her breast concerns. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Long at his Houston practice to learn if breast reconstruction or reduction, or another procedure such as breast augmentation or breast lift, is right for you.

Breast Reduction

Breast reduction is a procedure to reduce the size and weight of large breasts. This may be done to decrease the size of both breasts and/or make them more symmetrical. At Dr. Long’s practice in Houston, breast reduction surgery may also be used to make the breasts more similar in size and shape when performed as part of a breast reconstruction.

Breast Reduction Procedure

Breast reduction is performed under general anesthesia on an outpatient basis. The time of anesthesia is generally two to two and a half hours. During breast reduction surgery, excess breast tissue, fat, and skin is removed, and the remaining skin and tissue is tightened to reduce the size of the breasts. There are several incision placement options that Dr. Long will discuss with you during your consultation. Incisions are closed with absorbable sutures and all patients leave the hospital with a snug dressing around their chest.

Recovery from Breast Reduction

The side effects of breast reduction surgery may include temporary swelling, bruising, numbness or burning sensations, and pain that will require medication for the first several days. Complications can include loss of the nipple, loss of sensation to the nipple, nipple deformity, loss of skin, loss of skin sensation, infection, asymmetry, and poor scarring.

During a consultation with Dr. Long at his office in Houston, he will explain the breast reduction process, as well as address any concerns the patient may have about the surgery and recovery.

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Breast Reconstruction

At our Houston practice, breast reconstruction is a procedure that is often performed to correct the deformity caused by the loss of a breast, most likely due to cancer. This operation can be done at the time of the mastectomy (removal of the breast) or can be delayed for days, weeks, months, or years after the mastectomy. A delay in undergoing breast reconstruction surgery may be due to the patient’s desires, or the advice of the treating general surgeon, oncologist, or radiotherapist. Ultimately, it is the decision of all of these individuals as to when it is best to consider reconstruction.

Breast Reconstruction Procedures

The mastectomy operation for breast cancer removes both skin and the volume of the breast tissue. Thus, breast reconstruction is performed to replace both the skin and the lost volume. The different choices for reconstruction procedures are dependent upon how the patient wants to treat the loss of skin and volume. There are two basic approaches to breast reconstruction: reconstruction with implants and reconstruction with a fat transfer.

Implants - either saline or silicone - can be used to replace the lost volume. For patients who do not want an implant, the transfer of fatty tissue from another part of the patient’s body can often been used for replacement of volume. In both breast reconstruction techniques, the replacement of missing skin can be accomplished either with a tissue expander that stretches the skin to make room for the reconstruction, or a procedure to transfer the skin from another area of the patient’s body.

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Breast Reconstruction with Tissue Expander

The use of a tissue expander to increase skin, and the subsequent use of a saline or silicone implants, is the most common breast reconstruction procedure used. Dr. Long usually recommends this method for patients at his Houston practice. The expander breast reconstruction procedure can be performed at the time of the mastectomy, or can be delayed for chemotherapy or many other reasons. It is recommended for patients who will have, or have had, radiation of the breasts and chest area.

The expander operation is typically performed under general anesthesia on an outpatient basis. The time of anesthesia is one hour. Incisions are closed with absorbable sutures and patients are able to shower the next day, though they must wear a support bra for at least two weeks. Within two weeks of placing the expander, the filling of the expander is performed in the office. The expander is filled in increments dependent upon the patient’s comfort level and the size of expansion. Generally, the filling of the expander is done every two weeks until the patient is pleased with the size of the breast(s). Two or more months are allowed to pass until the expander is removed and replaced with a saline or silicone implant to complete the breast reconstruction.

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Recovery from Breast Reconstruction

The side effects of breast reconstruction may include temporary swelling, bruising, numbness or burning sensations, and pain that will require medication for the first several days. Some potential complications from the surgery are deflation of the expander, puncture of the expander, loss of skin and/or skin sensation, infection, asymmetry, and poor scarring. Fortunately, there is very little pain or discomfort associated with the procedure to replace the expander with implants, and most patients are able to return to their normal routines very soon after breast reconstruction surgery.

During your consultation at Dr. Long’s office in Houston, he will discuss with you the breast reconstruction recovery process and what you can expect following your procedure.

Nipple (Teat) and Areola Reconstruction

Within several months of the breast reconstruction surgery and the placement of implants, the shape and size of the breasts will have matured to the point that reconstruction of the nipple and areola can be performed. First, the nipple (teat) projection is accomplished during an in-office procedure that takes about one hour and is performed under local anesthesia. Patients are able to shower and return to normal activities the day after this procedure.

Approximately four weeks after the nipple projection procedure, the patient will have a procedure in the office, under local anesthesia if necessary, to tattoo the areola of the reconstructed breast to achieve the appropriate size and color. Many women have both areolas tattooed for a better color match. Patients are able to shower and return to normal activities the day following the tattooing procedure.

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Contact Dr. Long to Learn More about Breast Reduction and Reconstruction

During your consultation with Dr. Long at his Houston office, he will explain the available breast reconstruction options. The decision as to which kind of breast reconstruction procedure is best for you is dependent upon many factors including your age, the size of your breasts, previous surgical procedures, radiation of the reconstructed area, and your feelings about implants. In addition, the degree of difficulty for a given procedure and possible complications and hospitalization you are willing to accept will also be considered.

Contact the practice of Dr. John K. Long in Houston to learn more about breast reduction and reconstruction. Dr. Long can help you determine which breast procedures will best address your concerns and achieve the appearance you desire.

Contact Dr. Long at his practice in Houston to determine if breast reconstruction or reduction will help you achieve your desired appearance.






John K. Long, M.D., F.A.C.S.
1200 Binz St., Suite 1275
Houston, Texas 77004
Phone: (713) 522-5664
Fax: (713) 522-9618