The below question is answered by Richard M. Kline Jr., M.D., of The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction.
I had reconstruction with implants after my breast cancer diagnosis in 2009. How hard is it to go back and do breast reconstruction with a flap? What would the recovery time be? Also, does insurance give you a hard time about taking out the implants and revising having a flap?
It’s no trouble at all to remove implants and replace them with a muscle sparing free flap breast reconstruction. We’ve done it successfully hundreds of times. Unfortunately, roughly 30% of women who come to us are seeking conversion from a failed or unsatisfactory implant based reconstruction. Recovery time after flaps is usually 6 – 8 weeks, although some ladies recover much faster. I don’t think insurance usually gives you a hard time—once you’ve started the reconstruction process, they seem to follow through until you are finally content with your reconstructed breast.