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At Premier Plastic Surgery in Pittsburgh, Dr. Heil performs breast reconstruction services for women who have lost all or part of one or both breasts to disease or illness. Breast reconstruction can be helpful to women who are on the road to physical and emotional healing following the loss of a breast.


What Is Breast Reconstruction?

Breast reconstruction is a surgical procedure, which can be utilized to help recreate a breast after a loss, typically due to breast cancer. There are numerous methods that surgeons can use to recreate breasts, including reconstruction with implants and existing breast tissue, using additional tissue from the patient’s body for reconstruction, and combining donor tissue with an implant.

Why Seek Breast Reconstruction?

Losing a breast or breasts is a traumatic event that can leave women emotionally, as well as physically, scarred. A breast reconstruction is intended to help women regain self-confidence and put a negative health experience behind them.

The Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act of 1998 provides protection for all women who have undergone mastectomies following cancer. This Act requires that all insurance plans provide coverage for certain restorative services, which often includes reconstruction. It is also important to note that there are other alternatives to surgical reconstruction, including a form-fitting bra, or a non-surgical prosthetic.

Breast Reconstruction in Pittsburgh, PA

Is Breast Reconstruction Surgery Right For You?

If you have lost one or both breasts due to disease or illness, breast reconstruction could be for you. When considering breast reconstruction surgery, it is important to thoroughly consider your options. Talk with your doctors and with friends or loved ones. The decision to have breast reconstruction surgery is a highly personal decision and one that is ultimately your decision alone to make.

It is important to recognize that, while breast reconstruction can restore shape to the breast, it does not restore sensation to the breast or to the nipple. Over time, some women will redevelop a certain amount of sensitivity in a reconstructed breast, but there are no guarantees.


What To Expect Prior To Surgery

Prior to reconstructive surgery, patients should speak with their doctor and surgeon about any questions they have. It is important that the patient and the doctor reach total understanding with one another, ensuring all expectations are agreed upon.

Patients should ask their surgeon about the type of reconstruction the surgeon will be performing, and how it could affect future health care and screening issues. Following a double mastectomy, future mammograms may not be necessary—however, a physician may advise individuals to receive checks regardless. If the patient has kept one breast or had a lumpectomy, or if they have a strong family history of breast cancer, it is still advisable they continue to have yearly cancer screenings.

Prior to breast reconstruction, it is also important to understand the type of scarring that may occur, as well as what can be expected from the reconstructed breast over time. Ensure you fully cover these areas with your surgeon before undergoing breast reconstruction.

Before & After


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How Is Breast Reconstruction Performed?

First, anesthesia is administered, either intravenously or generalized. Depending upon the type of reconstruction necessary, Dr. Heil may take skin from other portions of the body, oftentimes from the buttocks or abdomen. If such reconstruction is required, it may take several months to complete and require multiple surgeries. The purpose is to deliver a new, reconstructed breast to patients who would otherwise have no breasts following a mastectomy.

If implants are being used in breast reconstruction, you and Dr. Heil will determine which type of implant will be used. Saline and silicone are two most common options used in reconstruction surgeries. If you decide to undergo implant reconstruction, there may be a process to expand the breast pocket, making room for the new implant. These aspects will all be discussed during your initial consultation with Dr. Heil in Pittsburgh.

Breast Reconstruction in Pittsburgh, PA

Immediate Vs. Delayed Reconstruction

Oftentimes, your surgeon is able to perform a breast reconstruction immediately following a mastectomy. This process is called immediate reconstruction, and it can minimize recovery time for both surgeries, allowing patients to get back on their feet faster, and with little visible changes. However, due to the demands of cancer treatment on the body, immediate reconstruction may not be a possibility for some women who have undergone a mastectomy. If additional chemotherapy is required, breast reconstruction will have to wait until radiation treatment is concluded.

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Breast Reconstruction in Pittsburgh, PA

After Breast Reconstruction

Patients will require some recovery time following breast reconstruction surgery. Dr. Heil will advise that patients wear compression garments around the chest to reduce movement, and suggest they refrain from strenuous activity for at least two weeks, if not longer.

Following surgery, it is important that patients take note of any persistent pain or discomfort and report them to their surgeon. If a surgeon has used silicone gel implants, it is also important that regular MRI screenings be employed to check for any ruptures or tears. As with any surgery, the decision can be a daunting task. At Premier Plastic Surgery, Dr. Heil is thorough in providing you with your options, so you can make the most informed decision possible.

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Update Regarding COVID-19 View Update Virtual Consultation

To our Premier & Acqua Blu community,

March 21st Update:

We remain at your service during this time.

To our post operative surgical patients you can still reach Dr Brian Heil by contacting us at 412.953.3373 or 724.747.7062. You may also email us at [email protected] or [email protected] We are standing by to assist you and will return calls and emails within the same day.

You are all in our thoughts and prayers. Please stay in touch via Facebook, Instagram and our website. We look forward to seeing you soon.

March 19th Update:

It has always been our mission to take the very best and safest care of our patients and staff, and in these uncertain times, this responsibility extends also to our Western PA community at large. Therefore, we are monitoring the situation on a daily basis with safety as our top priority. Currently, all patients and employees are being screened before entry to our facilities; this involves both measuring each person’s temperature and a COVID-19 screening survey based on PA DOH and UPMC standards. All patients with a temp over 99.5°F will be asked to reschedule. We have gone down to a skeleton staff to minimize the office population and ensure that less than 10 people will be in any facility region at the same time. We will be minimizing the use of waiting rooms by directly rooming patients after check-in when possible and, at times, by asking some patients to safely wait in their cars until their exam or treatment room is ready.

Hand sanitizers are available throughout our offices as well as sinks with soap and water. We continue to disinfect all frequently-touched surfaces between patients, including counters, furniture, pens, iPads, door handles, restroom fixtures, exam tables and chairs, wiping them down with hospital-grade sanitizers after each patient encounter. Our professional evening cleaning service is taking extra precautions in cleaning using their EnviroShield Endure System and adhering strictly to guidelines issued by the CDC & OSHA. Our facility is always maintained to the highest standards of cleanliness and sterility; however, we have ramped up our daily practice of decontamination and hygiene protocols to an even higher standard. Please limit chaperones to one additional person, and refrain from bringing in children and the elderly.

If you recently have had surgery and need to be seen for a follow-up visit, be assured that we will see you personally to ensure a full and safe recovery. At these appointments, you will be seen by only essential staff that have remained healthy, without signs of any illness or history of viral exposure. As a standard precaution, personal protection equipment will be worn as appropriate when examining you in accordance with any standing CDC recommendations. For now, at Premier Plastic Surgery we will be doing a limited number of consultations and treatments at our Wexford and Upper St Clair offices. Also during these challenging times we’d like to offer the option of a virtual consultation, please request these virtual consults by emailing us directly at . Our phones will still be answered during normal business hours and all emails will continue to be answered.

At this time, all surgeries planned in our private surgery center will be able to be completed as scheduled. Premier Surgery Center of Pittsburgh is a specialized outpatient facility that treats one patient at a time. Its medical resources are not of benefit or value to treating COVID-19 patients, thereby falling outside the call for cancellation of elective surgeries.

If you already have an appointment scheduled with Acqua Blu Medical Spa, one of our staff members will be reaching out to you directly to reschedule consults or treatments at a more safe future time. Regular appointments will resume on or after March 31, unless otherwise updated.

In the face of this ominous public health challenge, we all must work in concert with our community to help each other, protect each other, and extend extra understanding and patience to our fellow man. We urge everyone to protect themselves and their families. If you are experiencing any symptoms, please reschedule and seek out your general practitioner. If you need to reach us for a surgical emergency outside of office hours, please contact the answering service by calling (724) 935-7213 for emergencies.

This is an evolving situation and we will adjust our policies and practices in accordance with the best current knowledge and CDC recommendations. Please stay informed of the all Federal COVID-19 Task Force recommendations and any mandates of the PA Dept of Health. We will continue to pray for everyone and care for our patients through this time of need.

March 18th Update:

For the safety of our patients and staff, Premier Plastic Surgery is temporarily limiting visitors and restricting patient care for those potentially infected with COVID-19 virus. All patients and visitors will be actively screened prior to entry. For patients recovering from surgery, we ask that you limit accompanying visitors to 1 per patient. Visitors will be asked to remain in their vehicle for the duration of the visit. Visitors will be permitted in the exam or waiting room only in special situations, when a visitor is essential for the well-being and care of the patient. No visitors who are ill, sick, frail, elderly or at-risk (i.e. immune compromised or serious chronic illness) will be permitted access. No children less than 18 years of age will be permitted. Please do not bring children to your visit. Any approved visitors will be screened at the facility entrance by a staff member and must comply with a temperature screening.

March 16th Update:

From the time we opened our practice in 2001, our patients and employees have always been central to our purpose and our top priority.

Our hearts go out to all those who have been affected by the coronavirus. In the face of this unprecedented pandemic, we want to assure you we are committed to the health and safety of our patients and employees.

As part of our occupational health and safety regulations, washing our hands between each patient, wearing gloves, sanitizing our instruments and tools, disinfecting our treatment rooms, operating rooms, and checkin and checkout desks are part of our regular daily practice and occurs frequently throughout the day - regardless of season or sickness. Additionally, our practice undergoes weekly deep cleaning. We do this to ensure that our patients can trust Premier Plastic Surgery & Acqua Blu not only for their treatment but also for the practice environment. 

We're closely following the guidelines of The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), The World Health Organization (WHO) and The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and doing everything we can to keep our communities safe. We have provided hospital-grade antibacterial hand gel sanitizers in our office and are requiring each staff member and patient to use it upon their arrival. We have added more frequent disinfecting of high touch areas to our already rigorous sanitation standards. This will include the front door, the point of sale computer and surface areas, patient seating areas, treatment rooms, and bathrooms.

We are requesting that both patients and our staff take steps to reduce the transmission of communicable diseases by following these important guidelines:

  1. Stay home when you are sick and for at least 24 hours after you are free of fever (100 degrees F or 37.8 degrees C), or signs of a fever without the use of fever-reducing medication. 
  2. Wash your hands frequently with warm, soapy water for a minimum of 20 seconds.
  3. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol.
  4. Cover your mouth with tissue when you sneeze and discard the tissue into the trash.
  5. Avoid people who are sick with respiratory symptoms.
  6. Clean and disinfect household objects and surfaces in your home.

We are committed to exceeding your expectations at this time. Thank you for the opportunity to serve you, in this time and always. And, while it's tough to imagine, we're all hopeful that brighter days will be here again soon. We're all in this together!

Stay safe and healthy. 

Dr Brian Heil & Staff 

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