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What You Need To Know

Dr. Linville specializes in the most advanced breast reconstruction techniques designed
to give patients the best aesthetic results.

What is Breast Reconstruction?

Breast reconstruction is the process of restoring breasts to women who have had part or all of the breast removed. It could be because of breast cancer or even because of a mastectomy after identifying certain genetic markers that put them at risk.

Dr. Linville specializes in breast reconstruction surgery and resupplying women with their feminine beauty. There are several different techniques available to surgeons today. The ability to restore breasts has seen an amazing improvement in recent years.

Options range from flap reconstruction to tissue expanders and implants. Not every patient is a candidate for every type of procedure, but Dr. Linville will select the technique that will give the patient the best possible outcome.

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Dr. Cain Linville

Linville Plastic Surgery specializes in all surgical and nonsurgical plastic surgery in Houston. Our office is spearheaded by double board-certified plastic surgeon, Cain Linville M.D., F.A.C.S. We aim to provide the top plastic surgery in Texas and the United States. Our committed passion is helping our patients achieve their desired aesthetic goals.

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Types of Breast Reconstruction Surgery

There are two primary categories of breast reconstruction: Implant-Based Reconstruction and Flap Reconstruction. Dr. Linville uses both extensively and to great success. Both can be very effective in restoring your shape after breast surgery.

Implant-based reconstruction involves only the chest area. This differs from flap reconstruction, which takes contributing tissue from elsewhere on the body. The decision to go with flap reconstruction versus implant-based is determined by a variety of factors. These include the type of mastectomy, availability of contributing tissue on the abdomen, and physical attributes of the patient.

Candidates for Breast Reconstruction Surgery

  • Patients with a breast cancer diagnosis
  • A positive genetic screen which indicates a high likelihood of developing breast cancer at a later date
  • Who have already had a mastectomy or partial mastectomy (lumpectomy)

Most patients going through breast reconstruction have already had a mastectomy. However, some are just beginning this process. For these patients, they can opt to have a mastectomy and reconstruction at the same time. Though, this might not always be possible.

Dr. Linville works closely with a select few breast surgeons. Each of them demonstrates flawless technique and understanding of tissue handling. They have a masterful ability to preserve the patient’s anatomy and enhance the healing process. In all cases, the breast surgeon performing the mastectomy and Dr. Linville work together. Combining their skills, they ensure the patient has the best, safest outcome.

Surgical Goals

Dr. Linville uses the latest in breast reconstruction surgery techniques. He even combines multiple modalities when it would bring better results. There are continual advances in this area, and he prides himself on being on the cutting edge of the industry. His goal is for patients to have a reconstruction outcome as beautiful as an augmentation. Patients get the best-looking result possible in the safest manner with the fewest number of surgeries.

Breast Reconstruction Surgery before and after picture front view
Breast Reconstruction Surgery Patient before and after picture 3/4 right side View
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Breast Reconstruction Process

During your consultation, Dr. Linville reviews your medical history. Then a thorough examination will be performed to determine the appropriate path forward for you. A preoperative visit gets you ready for both surgery and recovery.

You can expect this pre-op visit to take about an hour. Either Dr. Linville or a professional member of his team will provide detailed info about recovery, the procedure, and the outcome.

Dr. Linville prioritizes his patients’ well-being above all else. He uses several anesthetic methods to minimize discomfort during and after your operation.

The two main categories are implant-based and flap reconstruction. Even within those, there are variations.


For select patients. This technique eliminates the process of needing a tissue expander and later expansions by placing a permanent implant in at the time of mastectomy. The results are immediate. The benefit is it allows patients to have complete reconstruction in as little as one surgery. Implants can also be placed under flaps. Or, they can be combined with fat grafting to get the best possible aesthetic result.


Pre-Pectoral Implant w/ Soft Tissue Reinforcement

For a natural-looking breast restoration that moves naturally. This method can provide a near-perfect look and feel, even with implants. It can be combined with fat grafting.

Nipple-Sparing Mastectomy w/ Direct-to-Implant or Free Flap

For a very select pool of candidates. It preserves the nipple during mastectomy and provides the best cosmetic outcome possible. Implants or DIEP flaps can be placed under the breast skin to restore breast shape and volume. Used with fat grafting, it yields an unmatched aesthetic result.

Oncoplastic Surgery

Done at the time of lumpectomy. It utilizes breast reduction principles to help shape and restore the breast around the site without leaving a divot or deformity.

Partial Breast Reconstruction for Lumpectomy Defects

For a larger lumpectomy or segmental mastectomy. This technique can help preserve some parts of the breast without needing a full mastectomy. It restores the lost skin and breast volume with skin and fat from the side or back, usually within the bra line.


By reducing and raising the breast and nipple before mastectomy via breast reduction, the breast envelope is optimized for a cosmetic result. It often spares the nipple and can prevent the need for radiation at a later stage. This is optimal for women with very large sagging breasts with a low nipple. It allows the chance to perform a nipple-sparing mastectomy. It is then followed by an implant or flap reconstruction.


For when the nipple must be taken during a mastectomy. It is occasionally beneficial to build a new nipple at the same time as the initial reconstruction. Waiting for later could necessitate another surgery. This is most commonly done in bilateral cases when using free flaps to maximize symmetry.

3-D Tattooing

The absolute latest in techniques. Dr. Linville has teamed up with Houston’s best. He works with experts who specialize in creating and restoring the subtle nuances of the nipple and areola.

Breast Reconstruction Recovery

Following your surgery, you will receive detailed instructions about how to care for yourself. This will have information about which medications to take and which to avoid. The list includes over-the-counter medicine, supplements, and vitamins.

You will see be seen a few days following your discharge from the hospital to make sure your recovery is on the right path. You will continue to be seen regularly for several months following surgery. Dr. Linville will let you know, based on your specific surgery, how long to abstain from exercise. When you’ve reached a certain point, you can resume full normal activities.

Dr. Linville is always reachable if you have a symptom that is concerning to you. The best thing you can do for yourself is to follow the post-operative instructions carefully.

What questions should I ask my plastic surgeon, and how does Dr. Linville answer these?

Picking a plastic surgeon for your reconstruction is an immensely personal decision. They will be the person working with you even longer than your original breast surgeon. As you select this surgeon, there are a few important considerations.

Are you board certified in plastic surgery and do you have specialized training in microsurgery?

I’m board-certified in both plastic surgery and general surgery. I have extensive training in all the most advanced breast reconstruction techniques. Among these is microsurgery, which is necessary for flap reconstruction. I have been invited to speak on breast reconstruction for other physicians and pride myself on my aesthetic outcomes.

Will I look the same after my mastectomy and reconstruction as I do before? Can I see before and after photos of your previous patients?

My goal is for my reconstruction patients to look as good or better than they do before their surgical procedures. I focus on giving reconstruction patients the same aesthetic attention that my cosmetic patients get. That being said, there are variations in what to expect based on the procedure and treatments for each patient. I am happy to share many photos of prior patients so you can learn more. I have a few on my website that you can see here.

How many surgeries will be involved, and what kind of time am I looking at as far as healing and recovery?

This varies according to a few factors. The type of mastectomy, the breast surgeon, and the type of reconstruction. There is usually a minimum of 2-3 surgeries in 12 months. Also, there is the potential for 1-2 more later. These are for fine-tuning your aesthetic outcome. It is not a quick process. Careful attention to detail and dedication to the best possible result takes time.

What kinds of breast reconstruction do you perform regularly?

While I am trained in many different kinds of reconstruction, I focus primarily on two procedures. These are implant-based reconstruction and DIEP flap reconstruction. I believe these two give the best aesthetic outcome to my patients.

Is this billable to my insurance?

Absolutely, and we have experts on staff to help navigate this. These procedures are covered because they are diagnosis-driven. Therefore, insurance companies are obligated to pay for treatment after a cancer diagnosis is received. We’ve worked with nearly every insurance company and type of plan out there and can help you understand the complexities involved.

Is there anything I can do, as a patient, to enhance my results?

Yes, yes, and yes. It is absolutely imperative that you follow the post-op orders after this procedure. This is major surgery. Your body will need time, nutrition, and rest to heal adequately. Breast reconstruction is a physically and emotionally exhausting process. So, the better you take care of yourself on both of those fronts, the better you will recover.

What makes you different from other reconstructive surgeons?

My goal is to have the prettiest results out there. There are many capable surgeons, particularly in Houston. But, the goal of many is only an adequate result. Their goal is that, with clothes on, patients resemble their former selves. I believe my reconstructive patients deserve results as aesthetically pleasing as my breast augmentation patients. In some cases, you have to look really closely to tell which is which!