Breast Reconstruction Specialist

Eric Barker, MD -  - Plastic Surgeon

Peak Plastic Surgery Center

Eric Barker, MD

Plastic Surgeon located in Denver, CO

When a patient is recommended to have surgery (lumpectomy or mastectomy) to treat or prevent breast cancer, a woman is faced with a challenging, personal decision if they would like to pursue breast reconstruction. This may be a very disruptive time in a woman’s life, and make them feel as though life has become anything but normal. Dr. Eric Barker takes this process and decision very seriously and strives to make the surgical process less daunting and help each patient return to normalcy as quickly as possible. Dr. Barker will work with the patient and their breast surgeon to come up with the most comprehensive surgical plan to address the individual patient needs. Dr. Barker utilizes the latest techniques in implant-based breast reconstruction to provide the most natural appearing outcomes for patients. His training under world-renowned breast reconstructive surgeon, Dr. Anuja Antony in Chicago, Illinois, has enabled him to bring those techniques to his own practice, Peak Plastic Surgery Center, in Denver, Colorado. Call the office or book an appointment online.

Breast Reconstruction Q & A

  • Personal Consultation
    • When patients come to discuss breast reconstruction with Dr. Barker, a comprehensive surgical plan will be discussed to address each patient’s desired outcome. There are numerous techniques available for breast reconstruction, ranging from nipple sparing, pre vs post pectoral implant placement, direct to implant, and two-stage filler techniques. Each technique, surgical plan, recovery process, and expected outcomes will be discussed with the patient to find the best option for them personally. This may become a lengthy conversation, but it is important to Dr. Barker that each patient feels comfortable and is not confused with the process. Many women may request or require additional procedures to continue to improve the shape and appearance of reconstructed breasts. These procedures may range from implant exchange, fat grafting, scar revision and more. Dr. Barker ensures each patient understands that he will work with them for as long as needed to achieve their desired results.  
    • It is his goal that each breast reconstructive patient understands that because they are undergoing breast cancer or prevention surgery does not mean they have to lose a part of their identity or womanhood. He will work diligently with patients so they will feel confident and beautiful after the process is finished.
  • Breast Reconstruction Overview and Expectations
    • Goals of surgery
      • To restore the breasts back as close to their natural appearance as possible. Dr. Barker works not only with the breast surgeon, but the patient as well, to develop a comprehensive surgical plan to address each patient’s individual goals.
    • Procedure
      • Anesthesia: General Anesthesia by a highly trained anesthesia provider
      • Length: Varies depending on the extent of surgery.
        • Stage I: mastectomy with implant based reconstruction typically 2-4 hours
        • Stage II (If needed): Breast implant exchange (filler for permanent implant) typically 1-2 hours
        • Nipple Reconstruction (if needed): typically 1 hour
    • Post Operative Care
      • Incisions will be closed with dissolvable sutures, and will be covered with surgical dressings. Depending on the stage, surgical drains may be placed and will be covered with surgical dressings at the skin sites. The drain dressings will remain in place until they are removed.
      • Patients will be given drain teaching preoperatively and again during the immediate postoperative period. They will be discharged home with the drains and will be given sheets to record drain outputs to bring to their follow up appointments. 
      • Depending on the technique used, patients will be placed in a no-wire surgical bra, which will be recommended for the first 6 weeks of recovery.
      • Timing of showering postoperatively will depend on the procedure performed and will be discussed with the patient prior to surgery.
      • Dr. Barker will work with each patient to come up with a comprehensive postoperative pain control plan.  It is the goal that the patient will only require as much narcotic pain medication as needed then switch to non-narcotic based pain control (Acetaminophen, Ibuprofen and Muscle Relaxants).
      • Typically, patients will feel discomfort in their surgically reconstructed breast for the first week postoperatively, with improvements seen daily. Bruising is normal after this surgery, and should resolve within the first 1-2 weeks after surgery.
    • Recovery
      • Patients will avoid strenuous activity for the first 6 weeks following surgery depending on the stage of reconstruction. Patients are usually cleared for increased activity at 6 weeks. 
      • Each stage of reconstruction comes with their own postoperative instructions and goals. Dr. Barker and his staff strive to provide as much education and instruction needed for each patient so that they may feel comfortable with the process and not feel as though they do not know what to do or expect during the reconstructive process.

 

  • Surgical Timeline – Stage I Reconstruction (Mastectomy with Reconstruction)
    • Surgery
    • Discharge home POD#0 or POD#1 (pending surgical plan) with drains in place, will receive drain teaching in Hospital
    • Day 3-5: Discomfort Improving
    • Day 7-10: First post-operative visit, Wean narcotic pain medications, possible removal of drain(s). Depending on the surgery performed, return to work
    • If drains are remaining in place, the patient will return weekly until all drains removed. Drain will be removed when output is less than 30cc for 48 consecutive hours
    • 3 months: Meet to discuss if an additional stage is needed (implant exchange) and work on surgical timing and booking. 
    • 6 months: Follow up 
    • 1 year: Follow up, then as needed

(Depending on what surgery technique is decided upon for breast reconstruction, the following timeline may change. Each patient will be informed of their individualized timeline prior to the surgery.)

 

Call or book an appointment online today.