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Women who undergo a mastectomy often choose to rebuild their breast(s) either during or after the procedure with a breast reconstruction in order to achieve the appearance and feel of their natural breasts. The decision to have breast reconstruction is a personal choice that every woman will have to make for herself; however, for those who do decide to have a breast reconstruction, the two main options are autologous reconstruction and implant reconstruction. 

Autologous reconstruction

Autologous breast reconstruction uses the patient’s own natural tissue to rebuild the breast(s). 

Your surgeon will transfer healthy tissue from another area on your body (this is called a “donor site” or “harvest site”) and will use it to create new breasts for you that look and feel natural. Microsurgery is often utilized to attach the vessels from the harvest site to the vessels of the chest to ensure regular blood flow. The most common harvest sites are the stomach, thighs, buttocks, or back.

Autologous breast reconstruction is either done with the TRAM flap technique or the DIEP flap technique. The TRAM flap technique uses the blood supply of the rectus abdominis muscle, but the DIEP flap technique does not use the rectus abdominis muscle. 

Reconstruction with breast implants

Another option for breast reconstruction is implants. Reconstruction with implants uses either a silicone or saline breast implant to reconstruct the breast(s). Depending on the patient’s specific case and when she has the implant inserted, a temporary tissue expander may need to be used as well, making the implant process a two-part operation.

Breast implants are an excellent alternative to autologous reconstruction if the patient doesn’t have enough excess fat in a harvest site to reconstruct new breasts.

If a patient will be undergoing radiation therapy, breast implants are not recommended.

Which method should you choose?

There are advantages and disadvantages to both autologous reconstructive breast surgery and reconstruction with breast implants. Because of this, it’s very important to speak with a knowledgeable specialist so that you fully understand both procedures and everything that is involved. The decision will also depend on your age, if you have enough excess fat to use, your health, where your tumor was, what types of therapy you may be receiving, and what type of surgery you had. On occasion, combination of autologous and implant-based reconstruction can be employed to achieve patient goals.  

Speak with our team

The reason to undergo reconstructive breast surgery is to achieve a feeling of wholeness after a mastectomy or injury. If you are considering breast reconstruction, we invite you to speak with us. Regency Specialties includes an above-and-beyond Breast Team with experienced and skilled specialists who are happy to educate you on your options. We are a patient-centric practice delivering the very best in reconstruction surgery, keeping your safety and wellbeing in mind at all times. From the moment you enter our door to your very last follow-up appointment, you will feel completely welcome and well cared for. To learn more or schedule a consultation, please call 623-243-9077 or contact us online. We look forward to hearing from you.

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