Breast reconstruction with implants and tissue flap breast reconstruction are both effective methods of rebuilding natural-looking breasts after a mastectomy. Some patients are good candidates for both types of breast reconstruction, while other patients are only eligible for one type or the other. Either way, it is important to understand the potential benefits and limitations of each, so you can make an informed decision for your care.

What Is Breast Reconstruction with Implants?

Saline and silicone breast implants are medical devices designed to mimic the look and feel of natural breasts. Since breast implants are available in various sizes, shapes, profiles, and textures, this reconstruction technique allows for a high degree of customization.

Breast implant reconstruction is only a viable option for patients who have enough tissue on the chest wall to accommodate the size of the desired breast implant, as well as keep it supported and secure in the breast pocket.

What Is Autologous Breast Reconstruction?

With autologous breast reconstruction, or flap reconstruction, the breast tissue removed during a mastectomy is replaced with a “flap” of tissue from elsewhere on the patient’s body. Breasts are most often reconstructed with skin, fat, and sometimes muscle tissue from the lower abdomen. Though much less common, donor tissue for flap reconstruction can also be taken from the back, buttocks, or thighs.

Unlike with breast implant reconstruction, patients who undergo this breast reconstruction technique do not have to worry about rejection, capsular contracture, implant displacement, or ruptures. However, because flap reconstruction involves two surgery sites, it is associated with longer and less comfortable recovery periods than breast implant reconstruction.

Breast Reconstruction Procedure Details

Both types of breast reconstruction can be performed immediately after a mastectomy or delayed, depending on the patient’s unique circumstances and preferences. In some cases, breast reconstruction with or without implants can be completed in a single step at the time of the mastectomy. In many cases, however, both types of breast reconstruction can necessitate two separate surgeries.

The first surgery involves the placement of a tissue expander. The tissue expander will be removed at a later date, in a second surgery, in which it is replaced with autologous tissue or a breast implant. With delayed reconstruction procedures, the tissue expander is not placed until several weeks after the mastectomy.

If you are considering a breast reconstruction procedure, you will want to speak with a qualified and experienced plastic surgeon who can help you understand the different options and identify which is best for you.

Your Breast Reconstruction Consultation

At Genesis Plastic Surgery in Davenport, IA, your breast reconstruction journey will begin with a private consultation with one of our experienced plastic surgeons. During your consultation, our surgeon will speak with you about your aesthetic and medical concerns, review your relevant health information, and examine your breasts.

The surgeon can then create a personalized treatment plan that meets your needs and goals. He will discuss his recommendations in-depth with you, providing detailed information about the potential risks and benefits and what to expect before, during, and after your procedure. You are encouraged to ask any questions you may have, as well.

If you are ready to explore your breast reconstruction options, contact Genesis Plastic Surgery today to schedule a consultation.