When a woman is going through breast cancer, mastectomy, and breast reconstruction, any degree of “normalcy” can be comforting. Some patients find this comfort in the idea of using their body’s own tissue, rather than breast implants, to reconstruct their breast(s). This is known as “autologous breast reconstruction.” There are a number of advantages to this method, such as an expectedly more natural-looking result. However, many of my breast reconstruction patients are simply drawn to the more natural approach of using their body’s own resources.
There are a number of different methods of autologous breast reconstruction, depending on the type and location of the tissue that is used. Most will take fat, skin, blood vessels, and/or muscle from the lower abdomen. The TRAM flap, the free TRAM, and the DIEP flap all use abdominal tissue, but they differ in the types of tissue they use as well as the way it is relocated to the breast. While there are other methods available for some patients (such as a latissimus dorsi flap or fat transfer injections), these three are the most common, and my video below offers more details about each of these types of breast reconstruction procedures and the differences between them.
Choosing a breast reconstruction plan is a highly personal decision, which should be made after careful consideration and consultation with a board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon who has evaluated your specific condition and has experience performing the type of procedure best suited to your needs. One of the best ways to help your surgery go smoothly is by educating yourself about the options, so to learn more, explore our website and follow me, Dr. Franklyn Elliott, on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.