Rippling After Skin Saving Bilateral Mastectomy with Immediate Reconstruction

All done 16 years ago. I was very happy with my result. But now the implants are rippling badly and I have some "nerve"? pain on my chest which is relieved if I shift or move the implant. Will insurance cover another reconstruction surgery or is this a cost I would have to cover on my own?

Doctor Answers 9

Breast reconstruction rippling

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You should be seen and examined to see what procedure would be appropriate.  Insurance authorization could then be obtained.

Three basic forms of breast reconstruction exist. You can use your own tissue, implants or a combination of the previous two techniques. Your own tissue can be used in the form of the DIEP flap, PAP flap, SGAP flap or fat grafting. Implants can be done in one stage or two stage. Two stage reconstructions are started by placing expanders at the time of mastectomy. Once they expanders are placed they are able to be inflated as determined by wound healing. The final time consists of combining any of the above techniques.

If you are interested in being seen in Austin please give us a call. I know this is a difficult time for you. The majority of my practice is devoted to reconstruction for women with breast cancer or who are BRCA+

Subsequent required surgeries following mastectomy covered by insurance

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Insurance will cover needed staged surgeries as a consequence of a mastectomy - past, present, and in the future.

Here is the law:

Women's Rights for Breast Reconstruction  Following Mastectomy

The Federal Women's Health and Cancer Rights Act of 1998 is still the law today

Under the federal Women's Health and Cancer Rights Act of 1998, a yearly notification
of your benefits pertaining to breast reconstruction must be sent to you by your insurance company.
The Women's Health Care Act states that benefits must be provided for:
• Reconstruction of a surgically removed breast
• Surgery and reconstrcution of the other breast to produce a symmetrical appearance
• Prostheses and treatment for physical complications from all stages of a mastectomy, including lymphedema

These benefits are subject to the conditions and terms of your plan, including maximum benefit amounts, deductibles,
copayments, and coinsurance provisions. The benefits are subject to your plan's exclusions and limitations.

Skin Rippling After Breast Reconstruction With Implants

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The development of skin rippling following breast reconstruction with implants is likely due to scar capsule contractures around the breast implant.  Treatment for this problem includes exchange of the implant with release of the capsular contracture, with or without the used do AlloDerm to reinforce the skin flaps.

 Alternatively,  while not for everyone, you may  benefit from the removal of the breast implant and breast reconstruction with your body's own skin and fat tissues.  These are specialized techniques that create natural, soft, warm breasts by transplanting the skin and fat from your lower abdomen, buttocks or inner thighs using microsurgery.  These procedures are known as perforators flaps and include the DIEP flap.

See        for more information about these and other procedures.

Fredrick A. Valauri, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon

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Rippling has several solutions

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Rippling is common in slender patients after mastectomy, especially if the implants are saline.  There are a number of possible solutions that would help you--deeper implant placement, silicone implants, flap reconstruction, fat grafting.  Find an experienced plastic surgeon whom you trust. Good luck.

Mark B. Constantian, MD, FACS
Nashua Plastic Surgeon

Rippling After Skin Saving Bilateral Mastectomy with Immediate Reconstruction

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Yes, insurance should and will cover most revision of reconstruction. As Dr Baxter states use of acellular dermal matrix (Alloderm or Strattice) can help. Also PRP fat transfers are another option. Finally in Europe Macrolane fillers could be a benefit . Regards. 

Post op pain and deformity post breast reconstruction

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Dear El D,

Meet with a local Plastic surgeon for an evaluation.  Before surgery, most offices will get authorization from your insurance carrier for your surgery so that you can know what your financial obligations are pre op.  If you have a cafeteria plan at work you could possibly find out what your obligation would be, designate the funds out next year and do your surgery next year.  You could pay your part in pre tax dollars.  Fat grafts and acellular dermal matrices are more commonly utilized to help thicken the tissues to help improve ripples.  Pain is tough to operate on because we cannot usually see the culprit.  Good luck 

Craig Harrison, MD, PA
Tyler Plastic Surgeon

Revision post mastectomy breast reconstruction is covered by insurance.

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It sounds that you will do well with a revision using round. smooth walled, moderate plus profile, cohesive silicone gel implants and possibly Alloderm reinforcement.

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon

Breast Reconstruction

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In general your insurance will, should cover your revision of  breast reconstruction.

Cosult your plastic surgeon, you have many options available to you now.

Samir Shureih, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon

Improving results after skin sparing mastectomy and reconstruction

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First I have to say that skin-sparing mastectomy with immediate reconstruction is becoming quite common today but was not often done 16 years ago, so kudos to your surgical team and to you. One of the factors that has made it a more predictable procedure and a more popular one today is the use of Acellular Dermal Matrix grafts such as Alloderm, which helps to form an internal bra that adds support and coverage. Placement of Alloderm may be a good option to consider now. I would expect that your insurance would cover it.

Richard Baxter, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 59 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.