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.