Are you seeking to restore your breasts after loss due to surgery, such as a mastectomy, but don’t wish to go the route of implants? The thought of a mastectomy can be debilitating enough, but now you are left with deciding on the possibility of breast reconstruction and what option is best for you. If you are concerned about having implants to reconstruct your breast, then autologous breast reconstruction may be right for you.
Autologous Breast Reconstruction is a procedure that involves using excess tissue (known as a flap) from another region of your body and using it to form a new breast mound. Most commonly, this tissue comes from your abdomen, but it can also from your inner thighs, buttocks, or back.
What are the types of flaps used for Reconstructive Breast Autologous Surgery?
DIEP Flap: This is the most commonly used “free flap” for autologous breast reconstruction. A DIEP flap, also known as deep inferior epigastric perforator flap, is taken from your lower abdomen (from a “tummy tuck”) and transferred as a “free flap” to your chest to reconstruct your breast. In order for the flap to survive, a specialized microvascular technique is used to connect the blood supply of the DIEP flap to the vessels in your chest. The volume that these flaps can provide makes this flap a popular choice.
PAP Flap: A PAP flap, also known as profunda artery perforator flap, is taken from your inner thigh and transferred as a “free flap” to your chest to reconstruct your breast. As with a DIEP flap, in order for the PAP flap to survive, a specialized microvascular technique is used to connect the blood supply of the PAP flap to the vessels in your chest. The volume that this flap can offer is usually smaller than a DIEP flap because of the location where the flap is taken from. This flap is usually reserved for patients who do not have enough abdominal tissue, but still seek autologous breast reconstruction.
GAP Flap: A GAP flap, also known as gluteal artery perforator flap, is taken from your buttocks and transferred as a “free flap” to your chest to reconstruct your breast. As with other free flaps, a specialized microvascular technique is used to connect the blood supply of the GAP flap to the vessels in your chest in order for the flap to survive. This flap can be used in thin women who do not have enough abdominal tissue or inner thigh tissue.
LD Flap: An LD flap, also known as latissimus dorsi flap, is taken from your back and relocated to your chest to reconstruct your breast. This flap can be taken as a free flap similarly to the flaps above, or as a “pedicled flap” where the blood supply to the flap is left intact and “pedicled” to the chest for reconstruction. Because the intricacy of microvascular technique is not utilized for a pedicled flap, recovery from this surgery is usually quicker. This flap can be utilized in women who do not have enough tissue anywhere else or for those who do not want to undergo complex “free flap” reconstruction.
What is the goal of reconstructive breast autologous surgery?
Restoring your breasts with your native tissue will feel more natural and also restores your sense of wholeness, as you’ll be able to look in the mirror and see yourself as you were, once again.
Dr. Washington’s goal for you is to help give you a natural, proportionate, and youthful appearance that will give you a commanding sense of confidence.
Is reconstructive breast autologous surgery right for you?
Using your own tissue to reconstruct your breast has the added bonus of typically lasting a lifetime, while breasts restored with implants typically must be replaced per manufacturer recommendations. This makes autologous breast reconstruction a popular choice among the many options for reconstructive surgery. You can choose to have your flap reconstruction done in conjunction with your mastectomy, this is known as immediate, or delay the reconstruction to a later time. Either way, you should be in relatively good health with minimal comorbidities.
What should I expect after reconstructive breast autologous surgery?
After “free flap” breast reconstruction you should expect to stay in the hospital for at least 3 days. Because free flaps require intricate microvascular connection, the blood supply to the flap can become compromised immediately after surgery. Thus, close monitoring of the flap is necessary in the hospital after surgery so that immediate intervention can take place if there is any concern of compromise to the flap. You will have 2 drains in your chest and 1-2 drains in the area where we take the free flap from. You will be given nerve blocks to minimize pain and improve early recovery.
Why choose reconstructive breast autologous surgery with Dr. Washington?
Dr. Washington specializes in several autologous breast reconstruction techniques with the ultimate goal of making you feel whole again. His training at UT Houston has prepared him to manage the simplest to the most complex cases. If you’re interested in learning more about autologous breast reconstruction, we invite you to contact us today to schedule a consultation. We look forward to discussing what surgical option is right for you and helping you achieve your goals!
“The most important and fulfilling aspect to me, is seeing the joy in my patients eyes after surgery; the spark in them signifying the moment when they realize their refined beauty reflects their spirit and inner beauty.”