Flap (Tissue-based) Breast Reconstruction Candidates

By Ravi Tandon, M.D. on February 07, 2019

A woman examining her breastAfter losing a breast to cancer or physical trauma, many people consider undergoing reconstructive surgery. Plastic surgeon Dr. Ravi Tandon has performed numerous breast reconstruction procedures, healing patients in the New Orleans, LA experience a rented sense of self.

While it’s common to use breast implants during reconstructive surgery, cosmetic surgeons may also consider flap reconstruction (aka autologous tissue reconstruction) to restore a breast after a mastectomy. Let’s cover the basics of this procedure and who is an ideal candidate for this type of breast reconstruction surgery.

Understanding the Flap Procedure

Flap breast reconstruction surgery uses tissue from a patient’s own body to rebuild the breast mound, including fat, skin, and muscle. This is an alternative to the use of a breast implant. Thanks to flap reconstruction, patients will generally experience more natural results from their reconstructive surgery.

The most common parts of the body that a surgeon gathers tissue for flap reconstruction include:

  • The abdominal area
  • The back
  • The buttocks
  • The thighs

When Implant Reconstruction Is Not an Option

For whatever reason, some women will not be eligible for or interested in breast reconstruction surgery that uses implants. This may be a recommendation by their surgeon or a case of personal preference. If implants are not an option worth considering, flap reconstruction is the sure option to rebuild the breast.

Sufficient Donor Tissue Is Available

When patients have sufficient donor tissue available in the parts of the body mentioned above, they are considered good candidates for flap reconstruction surgery. If the patient is very thin and/or lacks viable tissue for the creation of a tissue flap, reconstruction using implants will be a much more ideal option to consider.

Generally speaking, full-figured women are more likely to be good candidates for flap reconstruction surgery. Smaller, thinner women with low body fat tend to be better candidates for implant reconstruction simply given their body composition and the nature of the procedure.

Knowing the Risks and Disadvantages Involved

While flap reconstruction has a number of benefits in terms of appearance and texture of the reconstructed breast, there are also some drawbacks that patients must be aware of before they choose this surgical option:

  • Flap reconstruction is more expensive than implant surgery
  • Flap reconstruction is a more complicated and invasive surgical procedure
  • Flap reconstruction has a much longer recovery time than implant surgery

It’s important that a patient be okay with the factors above before they choose to undergo flap reconstruction.

Realistic Expectations About the Process

Given the added cost and recovery time for flap reconstruction, patients must have realistic expectations about the surgical process, which includes the post-op recovery. Having realistic expectations about the procedure tends to improve patient satisfaction, and demonstrates a full understanding of what the surgery entails.

Helping You Make the Right Decision About Surgery

Flap reconstruction may not be for everyone, but it could be the right decision given your needs. We encourage you to schedule a consultation at our practice. During your visit, we can answer all of your questions and go over your concerns with regard to breast reconstruction surgery options. By giving you straight answers, we hope you can make a confident decision about your treatment needs.

Learn More About Flap Breast Reconstruction

For more information about breast reconstruction and how it can benefit you, be sure to contact an experienced cosmetic and reconstructive surgeon. The team at Tandon Plastic Surgery is here to help. You can schedule a consultation with us by phone at (504) 455-1000.

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