Breast reconstruction using your own tissue
Breast reconstruction using your own tissue involves transferring a flap of skin, fat and sometimes muscle from another part of your body (the donor site) to your chest wall to create a breast shape. Flap reconstruction can be used to create a new breast after a mastectomy, or to replace breast tissue that has been taken away during a lumpectomy (wide local excision). Breast reconstruction using tissue from someplace else on your body is popular because it usually lasts a lifetime.
The flap is usually taken from either your back or tummy (abdomen). Some types of reconstruction use both a flap of tissue and an implant to help give the right shape, especially if a larger breast is being reconstructed. Because the skin used is taken from another area of the body, it may be a slightly different shade or texture from the rest of the breast. This method is particularly suitable for creating a moderate to large-sized breast and one that has a natural droop.
Flap surgery is commonly used when women:
This type of surgery involves a longer operation and more recovery time than an implant-only reconstruction. But you will be less likely to need further surgery in the future than with reconstruction using implants alone. A reconstructed breast using tissue instead of an implant may also provide a better match with your other breast in the long term. This is because tissue reacts to gravity, aging and weight change more naturally.
TYPES OF OWN TISSUE RECONSTRUCTION
There are two ways in which surgery involving a tissue flap may be done:
The flap remains attached to its blood vessels at one end.
The flap is completely detached from the body along with its blood vessels and re-attached in the position of the reconstructed breast.
The type of operation is usually referred to by the initials of the area of the body from where the tissue is taken, for example the name of the muscle used. The most common types of flap surgery are:
RADIOTHERAPY AFTER RECONSTRUCTION USING YOUR OWN TISSUE
There is a risk that radiotherapy may shrink or harden the tissue used to form the new breast and affect how the breast looks. So if your doctors think you may need radiotherapy after a mastectomy, they may suggest you have a delayed breast reconstruction.