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Breast Reconstruction


What is breast reconstruction?

Breast reconstruction is a surgical modification of the breast which is performed following mastectomy. Breast reconstruction utilizes several techniques that aim to restore the breast to normal shape, size, and appearance.

Breast reconstruction is usually performed under general anesthesia as an outpatient procedure at Heartland Plastic & Hand Surgery for patients who have completed their breast cancer treatment or seek implant reconstruction. Preparation for breast reconstruction surgery, including administering anesthesia, may take two hours. Once the doctor takes over, the reconstructive portion of the procedure is completed within an additional one to six hours.

Following surgery, the patient spends approximately two to three hours in the recovery room at Silver Springs Surgery Center before being released to go home.

Informational Video

What is a TRAM flap procedure?

The doctor may choose a TRAM flap procedure to recreate a healthy and cosmetically balanced breast mound, nipple, and areola. Dr. Humphrey regularly performs this procedure.

The TRAM flap procedure reconstructs the breast using muscle, fat, and skin from a woman’s stomach. Enough tissue is usually present in the abdomen to make this procedure successful.

There are two types of breast reconstruction flap procedures: pedicle flap and free flap. The pedicle flap does not require cutting the skin, fat, and other tissue free from your abdomen – they are moved through a tunnel under your skin up to the breast area. The free flap involves cutting a section of skin, fat, and other tissue free and relocating it to your chest. A tummy tuck is also performed during reconstructive surgery with either flap method.

The TRAM flap procedure has distinct advantages and disadvantages:

Advantages: A TRAM flap reconstructed breast will maintain the appearance and touch of a normal breast. It will be warm (normal temperature) because blood circulation will effectively move through the reconstructed area. It will be cosmetically similar to a normal breast.

Disadvantages: The new breast will have a lessened sensation because nerve fibers from the post-mastectomy area will have been removed. A TRAM flap procedure also requires more time in surgery than just using an implant alone.


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“The staff is always very friendly. Dr. Humphrey was great as a surgeon and made me feel very comfortable the whole time. If I had to have another procedure, I would definitely go back to Heartland Plastic surgery.”

“I cannot thank Dr. Humphrey and staff enough for the outstanding service. My results are better than I ever imagined. 10/10 recommend him for any and all cosmetic needs! ❤️”

“I’m 49 and decided to get a breast lift and implants. Best decision I’ve ever made. A drastic improvement. Thanks, Dr. Humphrey❤️.”


Can I see before and after pictures of people who have undergone this procedure?

During your breast reconstruction consultation at Heartland Plastic & Hand Surgery, the doctor will let you browse through some before and after pictures of patients who have undergone this procedure. This allows you to visualize what the procedure may do for you.

If you are interested in viewing before and after photos before your consultation, visit our online gallery.


BRAve Faces of Hope – Breast Cancer Survivor Stories

On October 15, 2014, our office, along with The Plastic Surgery Foundation is celebrating the third annual Breast Reconstruction Awareness (BRA) Day USA. BRA Day USA is a chance for us to educate others about the choice breast cancer patients…

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How To Determine The Right Breast Implant Size For You

Having been in practice for close to 20 years, I have noticed a change in the volume of breast implants that patients are choosing at the time of their consultation.  When I first started practice in 1995, the average breast…

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Is financing available? And will insurance cover any of my fees?

Heartland Plastic & Hand Surgery accepts several types of payment. They are cash, credit cards (Visa, Master Card, Discover, and American Express), money orders, and cashier checks. You may want to obtain financing from an agency of your choice.

Breast reconstruction may be covered by commercial insurance. Information is collected during your consultation at our office, and a predetermination letter is sent to your insurance company. It will take an average of four to six weeks to get a response from your insurance provider. If insurance denies coverage because the procedure is not medically necessary, then a letter of appeal is submitted with a support letter from the patient’s family physician. If you are opting for a cosmetic breast reconstruction procedure, the balance must be paid in full or financing arrangements made in advance with a financing company of your choice before surgery.


Do I have to stop smoking prior to having this procedure?

Yes, Dr. Humphrey requires the patient to stop smoking one month before surgery and one month after surgery. Nicotine in cigarettes, vapes, and other tobacco products decreases the blood supply to the skin, and blood supply is important to the healing process. We also require patients to eliminate secondhand exposure to all tobacco and marijuana products for the same duration.

Is there anything I need to do to get myself ready for surgery?

To reduce bruising and the risk of hematoma, you must stop taking blood thinners and Vitamin E at least two weeks before and after surgery. If you are on prescription blood thinners, you may need medical clearance from your family doctor and instructions on how to stop these medications. We also want all herbal medication and diet pills (prescription and over-the-counter) stopped at least two weeks before surgery and one week following.

At Heartland Plastic & Hand Surgery, cosmetic surgeries are elective procedures requiring you to be in overall good health before surgery. If there are questions regarding your health, medical clearance from your family doctor may be required.

Is there a better time of the year to have the surgery performed?

You should make sure you take off enough time to allow yourself to heal. After breast reconstruction, you will have a 10 to 15-pound lifting restriction for at least 10 days following surgery (that will include lifting children). You also have to make adjustments at work due to discomfort, swelling, and being on pain medication. The average time off work for patients ranges from two to six weeks.

This could be for me. What should I do next?

At Heartland Plastic & Hand Surgery in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, J. Stewart Humphrey, MD, is board certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery. He offers plastic and hand surgery to patients across Missouri, including Cape Girardeau, Jackson, and Sikeston. Our Plastic Surgery office is located 72 miles from Paducah, KY, and 66 miles from Farmington, MO. Your next step is to contact the Heartland Plastic & Hand Surgery office today at (888) 515-2847 to schedule your initial breast reconstruction consultation! In the meantime, jot down all your questions and concerns and bring them to your consultation so your surgeon can address them. Call us now. Make this important first step today!


Board Certified Plastic Surgeon


Dr. J. Stewart Humphrey is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, and the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. The American Board of Plastic Surgery is the gold standard for plastic surgery certification in the United States. Dr. Humphrey…

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