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Over Twenty-Seven Years Experience as a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon Specializing in the Natural Look
Breast Augmentation Model

Autologous Breast Reconstruction: Becoming Whole Again

smile sunSurvivors of breast cancer receive a number of physical and emotional benefits from breast reconstruction surgery. The procedure can often restore a familiar feminine silhouette, improve confidence, and, in the case of autologous reconstruction, provide natural-looking results that feel authentic.

There are a number of available approaches for autologous reconstruction, and many of them begin by harvesting a flap of tissue used to rebuild the breasts. Comprised of a combination of excess skin and fat tissue, Dr. Wesley Schooler, our board-certified plastic surgeon, utilizes the muscle-sparing DIEP (Deep Inferior Epigastric Perforator) flap sourced from the abdomen. As a free-transforming flap, it is completely separated from the origin tissue. Dr. Schooler prefers this procedure, as it is designed to allow a full return to functionality after healing.

After obtaining the body tissue, Dr. Schooler will reshape and secure it microsurgically to the chest wall. Then, he will reconnect the blood vessels, creating living tissue that moves with the body and feels very natural. Benefits of natural breast reconstruction can include:

  • Natural looking and feeling results
  • Flatter abdominal appearance
  • No surgery on the other breast unless breast lift or breast reduction is requested
  • Use of the body’s own tissue
  • Typically permanent results—no need for additional surgery

Ultimately, choosing to rebuild the breasts with natural body tissues can help restore a sense of empowerment, but it may not be the most effective technique for every patient. Dr. Schooler can help patients determine which procedure provides the best opportunity for success based on their individual needs and goals during the consultation process.

For more information on autologous reconstruction or any other breast reconstruction technique offered at our practice, or if you wish to schedule a consultation, please contact us today.

Having The Surgery Was The 2nd Best Decision, Dr Buchanan was the 1st! Thank You!!

It took me a while to decide what I was going to write because there is no way I could thank Dr Buchanan in just one statement! In August of 2014 I had a Breast Reduction and Lift along with Liposuction of the Stomach and Hip areas. It has improved my active lifestyle more than I ever imagined. I work out a lot and these were areas that I had a really hard time improving upon. Every day since surgery, my body seems to get better and better! I have gotten faster in running and improved my golf game. This is by far the most caring and professional doctor’s office I have ever been in. All I can say is having the surgery was the 2nd best decision, Dr Buchanan was the 1st! Thank You!!

Oh, and please tell Dr Buchanan that since the surgery I went from a 32 handicap to a 22. Not too shabby. And that I even broke 90! Thanks again! ~SJ

Breast Reconstruction and Radiation Therapy

HappyWomanPatients who have undergone radiation therapy as part of their breast cancer treatment cannot always utilize the same breast reconstruction methods as those who have not. Though irradiated patients should typically delay procedures until treatment is complete, it’s still possible for them to achieve results that are as beautiful and natural-looking as any breast cancer survivor.

A common method for rebuilding breasts post-radiation treatment is autologous reconstruction, which uses the patient’s own body tissue – usually sourced from the abdomen – to rebuild the breasts. With this technique, our breast reconstruction surgeon, Dr. Wesley Schooler, harvests a section of skin and fatty tissue, called a DIEP (Deep Inferior Epigastric Perforator) flap, using muscle-sparing methods and reshapes it to create breast tissue. Once healed, the results are often very natural-looking, and full function of abdominal muscles is typically maintained.

Dr. Schooler offers a second option for patients interested in implant-based reconstruction prior to completing cancer treatments. By combining breast implants with harvested fatty tissue and skin, patients can obtain full, shapely results with reduced risk of complications associated with breast implant procedures traditionally performed on patients requiring radiation.

As with all surgical procedures, Dr. Schooler will discuss the benefits and risks involved with each technique during the consultation process. With his extensive experience in breast reconstruction and emphasis on a quality patient experience, Dr. Schooler can often restore confidence while providing beautiful, natural-looking results patients love.

For more information about breast reconstruction procedures for breast cancer patients who have received radiation, or to schedule a consultation, please contact our office today.

Determining the Right Approach For Breast Reconstruction

Doctor ConsultationUndergoing breast reconstruction is a significant experience – one which can often help women feel whole and healthy after defeating breast cancer. Following mastectomy, the breasts can be restored utilizing a number of modern techniques. Dr. Wesley Schooler, our board-certified plastic surgeon, will determine which procedure is right based upon expressed wishes and anatomic indications. Ultimately, he strives to provide the most natural-looking results possible.

There are three main approaches to rebuilding the breast mound, and each is dependent upon the unique needs of the patient. Here is a brief overview of the options available for rebuilding the breast mound:

Implant-Based Reconstruction

Much like a breast augmentation, implant-based reconstruction utilizes breast implants to help recreate the shape and volume of natural breast tissue. Tissue expanders are utilized to create a pocket for either a saline or silicone implant, and acellular dermal matrices (sterile frameworks of tissue) are used to increase hardiness of the lower half of the breast. Dr. Schooler emphasizes nipple-sparing methods when combining mastectomy and breast reconstruction; however, with modern techniques it is possible to recreate a nipple lost to mastectomy.

Autologous Reconstruction

In some patients it may be possible to reconstruct the breasts using only natural body tissue. This procedure, known as autologous reconstruction, requires donor skin from another area of the body, such as the abdomen. While necessitating fewer surgeries, autologous reconstruction requires a much longer recovery period. However, it is a popular choice for many patients who do not wish to or cannot have implants as it often offers very natural-looking, natural-feeling results.

Breast Implants Combined with Autologous Reconstruction

A third alternative combines elements of both options: breast implants and natural tissue. With this technique, skin, fat, and muscle is donated – usually from the back, abdomen, or thighs – providing a bed for the implants.

No matter the technique he utilizes, Dr. Schooler’s primary objective for every breast reconstruction is providing results that are as comfortable and natural-looking as possible. If you would like additional information about breast reconstruction procedures, or if you wish to schedule a consultation with Dr. Schooler, please contact us today.

Rebuilding the Breast After Cancer

braBreast reconstruction, a procedure designed to restore the breasts after mastectomy, may be able help women return to a feeling of normalcy and wholeness after experiencing the physical and emotional trauma commonly associated with breast cancer and its subsequent treatment. Our breast reconstruction surgeon, Dr. Wesley Schooler, offers a variety of techniques to help women regain a positive sense of self after breast removal.

Every one of our breast reconstruction patients comes to us with unique needs and aspirations, so there is no one-size-fits-all procedure for rebuilding the breast. Typically, there are three main approaches to breast reconstruction:

  • Breast implants only
  • Natural body tissue only
  • Breast implants and natural body tissue

Dr. Schooler will determine which method offers the greatest opportunity for a successful, natural-looking result during the consultation process, and he will discuss all the details, benefits, and risks of each procedure. Ultimately, consideration factors include both patient input and anatomic indications. The type of mastectomy, whether or not radiation therapy was utilized, and amount of body tissue available will also guide the treatment course.

Check back toour blog soon to learn more about breast reconstruction options. If you have questions about breast reconstruction or wish to schedule a consultation, please contact us today.

Candidacy Requirements for Breast Implant Exchange

implant revision californiaThere are many reasons why patients might consider replacing their current breast implants for newer versions. For some, capsular contracture—when scar tissue develops around implants, causing one or both to harden—can become a problem. For others, asymmetry, either as a result of their original procedure or a natural occurrence, may result in the desire to create a more balanced appearance. Cosmetic enhancement is also a common motivator. Many of the latest models of implants provide a more natural-looking result than ever before, prompting a number of women to seek out a breast implant exchange.

No matter the reason for interest, our skilled plastic surgeons can help patients determine the appropriate treatment plan to address their individual concerns and goals. During consultation, Dr. Buchanan or Dr. Schooler will provide a thorough examination to help decide whether a woman is a qualified candidate for breast implant exchange. Some of the indicators they will look for include:

Being in good general health
Experiencing dissatisfaction with the appearance, feel, or size of the current implants
Experiencing capsular contracture, asymmetry, wrinkling, deflation, or rupture
Having reasonable expectations for results

Advancements made in breast implant technology have resulted in more durable implants that last longer than many of the original models. While individual outcomes may vary, most patients can expect the effects of breast implant replacement to be long lasting.

Contact Santa Barbara Plastic Surgery
If you have additional questions about breast implant exchange, or if you wish to schedule a consultation with either Dr. Buchanan or Dr. Schooler, please contact our office today.

Common Reasons Patients Seek Out Breast Implant Exchange

santa barbara breast implantsOne of the most exciting advances in breast augmentation is the variety of sizes, shapes, and types of breast implants available. As a result of the expansive options, many women who have had a previous breast enhancement surgery discover they wish to replace their current implants with another kind, often one that has only recently been developed. Many of our patients considering a breast implant exchange do so for cosmetic reasons, but not all individuals experience the same motivations. Both form and function can influence a woman’s desire to undergo a breast revision, especially in the case of capsular contracture (when scar tissue develops around the implant causing hardening) or deflation. In our experience, the three most common reasons for choosing breast implant exchange are:

    1. Capsular contracture
    2. Asymmetry
    3. Implant rupture or deflation

While many individuals seek to substitute silicone implants for saline or traditional implants for the new shaped style, most of our patients experience a functional concern. Older versions of breast implants are less durable than the new models, and they are often subject to greater wear and tear in a shorter amount of time. By replacing them, women often discover a renewed satisfaction with their appearance while also enjoying the increased longevity of the new implants.

We understand every woman has unique questions and concerns. Regardless of the reason for considering breast implant exchange, we can help our patients develop a customized treatment plan that can best achieve their aesthetic goals.

Contract Santa Barbara Plastic Surgery Center
If you have additional questions about breast implant exchange or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact us today.

Incision Options for Breast Lift

breast-lift-optionsAt Santa Barbara Plastic Surgery Center, approximately 30 percent of our breast surgery patients undergo a breast lift. A breast lift, or mastopexy, is a procedure designed to correct sagging or drooping breasts, restoring them to a more youthful and firmer look and feel. If you are considering breast lift surgery, one of the choices you and your surgeon will discuss is the type of incision performed during your procedure.

Our plastic surgeon, Wesley G. Schooler, MD, says the type of incision will often depend on level of lift required. The three commonly used breast lift incisions include:

  • “Benelli” or “donut” lift – a circular incision around the areola only
  • Vertical pattern incision – a complete circular incision around the areola and vertical incision straight down the breast, making a “lollipop” shape.
  • Wide-pattern or “anchor” incision – includes the same incisions in the vertical lift but with an additional horizontal incision at the crease of the breast.

Because the vertical pattern incision is most suitable for women with a moderate degree of sagging, which is what the majority of patients experience, Dr. Schooler says it is the technique he most commonly employs. “In most people I do the vertical-type, short scar pattern incision,” he says. “It’s a somewhat newer technique, or a variation of a newer technique that I use on almost all my patients.”

As each patient’s breasts are unique, Dr. Schooler says it’s very important for the surgeon to match the technique based on the patient’s needs, as well as her goals and expectations – all of which are thoroughly reviewed during the consultation.

Contact Santa Barbara Plastic Surgery Center

If you would like to learn more about whether a breast lift may be the right option for you, or to schedule a consultation with one of our board-certified plastic surgeons, please contact us today.