Autologous (Tissue) Breast Reconstruction
Bilateral Mastectomies and
Bilateral Autologous (DIEP flap) Breast Reconstruction
Autologous breast reconstruction uses a patient's own tissue from somewhere else on their body to reconstruct their breasts, thus eliminating the need for breast implants.
Fat is removed from a distant site of the body, in a volume and shape that is similar to the patient's removed breast, and this is placed under the breast skin for reconstruction. Autologous reconstruction options offer a very natural appearing shape and feel to a native breast, since they are composed of fat tissue.
The DIEP flap (Deep Inferior Epigastric Perforator flap) procedure is currently the gold standard in breast reconstruction and the preferred option for autologous breast reconstruction performed by Dr. Sbitany. This flap involves removal of fat from the lower abdomen, similar to the area of fat removed with a cosmetic tummy tuck. This lower area of fat, below the belly button, is kept with a blood supply, and this is transplanted to the chest, where it is reconnected to blood vessels in the chest area, to allow the fat tissue to live in its new location in the breast. Then, this tissue is shaped under the breast skin, to provide the reconstructed breast.
The DIEP flap uses a patient’s own abdominal tissue to reconstruct a “natural” breast. The DIEP flap procedure only requires the removal of skin and fat, and no muscle is sacrificed. Since NO abdominal muscle is removed or transferred to the breast, patients preserve their abdominal strength long-term, and experience less pain and a much quicker recovery.
Other options for autologous tissue breast reconstruction include:
The GAP flap (Gluteal Artery Perforator flap) procedure uses skin and fat from the buttock region. Tissue is taken from either the superior (upper buttock) region or inferior (lower buttock) region. Both incisions can be easily hidden in most underwear.
The PAP flap (Profunda Artery Perforator flap) uses skin and fat from the upper, inner thigh just below the buttock crease. This inner thigh fat is used to reconstruct the breast, and a scar is left just below the groin crease.
Dr. Sbitany will help guide you through these, and other tissue options, if you are a candidate for autologous breast reconstruction.