Dr. Yee is familiar with breast cancer treatment from her general surgery training as well as participating in the St. Joseph Breast Tumor Board, where breast cancer cases are discussed among breast surgeons, radiologists, pathologists, oncologists, and radiation oncologists. Many patients prefer to see a female surgeon with their breast concerns, and Dr. Yee is the only female plastic surgeon in Sonoma County offering breast reconstruction.
Breast reconstruction after mastectomy is legally mandated to be covered by insurance, so the initial reconstruction and any revisions are all covered procedures, and not considered cosmetic. Some patients elect not to have any reconstruction, but for those who do, Dr. Yee offers implant-based and some tissue-based reconstruction. Keep in mind that breast reconstruction often involves multiple procedures, performed in stages. The first stage can be performed at the time of mastectomy or be delayed.
The breast mound can be reconstructed using breast implants, your own tissue (flap or autologous reconstruction), or a combination of the two. Breast implants come in many types (saline, silicone gel, cohesive gel) and styles (round, anatomic), and Dr. Yee reviews the pros and cons of each of these to help you determine which would be best for you.
Dr. Yee works with surgeons at CPMC (San Francisco) and UCSF to facilitate referrals for microsurgical reconstruction (e.g. free TRAM, DIEP flaps). Some of the factors that affect the kinds of reconstruction you might be a candidate for include the type of mastectomy, plan for radiation therapy, your weight and body type, your general health, and whether you smoke. Dr. Yee generally sees patients after they are diagnosed, but before the mastectomy surgery is planned, so that the different options can be reviewed and referral to tertiary centers for microsurgery is possible.
If only one side is affected, Dr. Yee may suggest a procedure on the opposite side to improve symmetry, such as a breast lift (mastopexy), breast reduction, or breast augmentation. She may also propose fat grafting, using your own fat harvested from liposuction, to refine the appearance of the reconstructed side. The main goal is to have symmetry when wearing a bra, and in clothing.
Postoperative Care Instructions
To determine if breast reconstruction is right for you, please schedule a consultation with Dr. Yee.