Reconstructive Surgery

Reconstructive surgery addresses abnormalities of the body that may be caused by congenital defects, developmental problems, trauma, infection, tumors or disease. Reconstructive surgery usually improves function as well as appearance and is generally covered by most health insurance plans, although coverage for specific procedures may vary greatly. Please read on to familiarize yourself with the procedures we offer at Plastic Surgery Bellingham, and contact us for more detailed information or to set up a consultation with one of our expert reconstructive surgeons.

  • Breast Reconstruction
  • Breast Reduction
  • Gynecomastia
  • Hand Surgeries
  • Scar Revisions

Breast Reconstruction

Breast reconstruction is commonly performed on women who have had a mastectomy (removal of the breast due to cancer or a precancerous condition) or who have breast deformities. Many women feel very insecure or self-conscious about the appearance of their breasts following mastectomy. Breast reconstruction allows their natural curves to be restored and can drastically improve quality of life.

Breast reconstruction techniques are usually performed in stages and can span across six months. The first procedure, which is usually performed at the time of the mastectomy, is the longest and most complex. The subsequent surgeries are usually outpatient and involve minimal pain and recovery.

There are two categories of reconstruction. The first is implant-based reconstruction and the second use techniques that employ only the patient's own tissue in the procedure. There are many factors and variables to consider, and a treatment plan can be formulated to meet your goals and needs.

To find out which procedure is best for you, please contact our practice today for a consultation.

Breast Reduction

Neck and back pain, bra strap indentations on the shoulders, and general discomfort are all unfortunate realities for women who have exceptionally large, heavy breasts. Oversized breasts can make a woman feel self-conscious and embarrassed as well as physically uncomfortable. Breast reduction is a reconstructive/cosmetic procedure during which the breasts are made smaller, lighter, and more proportionate to the body.

Our minimally invasive approach to the breast reduction procedure begins with an incision made around the areola (the dark circle of skin surrounding the nipple) and below the natural curve of the breast. Next, excess fat, glandular tissue, and skin are removed, and the remaining skin is tightened around the newly contoured breast. The procedure may take up to three hours and is performed under anesthesia on an outpatient basis. Aftereffects may include swelling, temporary bruising, and some pain. These side effects are generally relatively light due to our less invasive techniques and diminish as the breasts heal.

To learn more about breast reduction, please contact our practice today.


Many men feel self-conscious about extra fat and tissue located in their chest area. Fortunately, this condition (known as gynecomastia) can be treated with a procedure sometimes referred to as "male breast reduction." Two variations of this procedure may be used, depending on your needs. If fat, skin, and glandular tissue need to be removed, the procedure will be done using a scalpel or scalpel-liposuction approach. For this procedure the incision can usually be placed discreetly in the underarm area or around the areola (the dark area surrounding the nipple). If only fatty tissue needs to be removed, the procedure can be done with liposuction alone, which entails a much smaller incision. For further information regarding gynecomastia and possible solutions, please contact our practice today.

Hand Surgeries

Whether the defect is congenital or acquired, plastic surgeons can usually restore comfort, mobility, and normal appearance to patients with hand problems. Acquired defects include carpal tunnel syndrome and other painful conditions caused by pressure on the nerves (usually at the wrist or elbow); trigger fingers, a condition caused by swelling of a flexor tendon in the hand; ganglion cysts, a benign cystic growth; and scar contracture, which occurs when a wound or burn on the hand heals poorly and forms scar tissue that curls the fingers or restricts mobility. Dupuytren's disease causes a similar problem of hand contracture.

Children born with syndactyly (webbed fingers) can benefit from finger separation, where a zig-zag-type incision separates the fingers and rearranges the tissue between them, preventing growth deformities. If a child had polydactyly (extra fingers), correction is often more than simply removing the extra digits. The surgeon may also need to balance the tendons of the hand and stabilize the remaining finger joints so that the hand functions as normally as possible. Plastic surgeons also reconstruct missing digits, including the thumb, which supplies half of the hand's function.

If you are interested in receiving more information about reconstructive hand surgery or if you would like to set up a consultation, please contact us today.

Scar Revisions

Many factors determine the severity of scarring: the size of a wound, its depth, the blood supply to the area, and skin tone. No surgeon can completely remove a scar, but the appearance of most scars can be greatly improved. Scar revision is a surgical procedure used to improve the appearance of scars that do not respond to cortisone drugs, steroids, or skin gels. Several techniques are available, including excision, dermabrasion, and laser treatment. Please contact us to learn more about scar revision or to set up an exploratory consultation with one of our expert plastic surgeons.

Plastic Surgery Bellingham logo

Plastic Surgery Bellingham has been serving the needs of Bellingham patients since 2004. With our board-certified doctors and modern technology, we have the knowledge and the tools to achieve effective results in a safe manner. Drs. James H. Blackburn II and Timothy M. Whitney are affiliated with many prominent organizations, including the:

  • American Board of Plastic Surgery
  • American College of Surgeons
  • Northwest Society of Plastic Surgery
  • Whatcom County Medical Society
  • Washington State Medical Society
  • Washington Society of Plastic Surgery

For cosmetic enhancement or reconstructive surgery, request a consultation using our form or call our office at (360) 676-0972.

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