Reconstruction With Your Own Tissue

You can also reconstruct a breast form using your own tissue. In this method, a flap of skin, fat or some muscle is taken from either your abdomen (belly), back, buttocks, or thigh. The flap of tissue is moved to your chest area, where you had the mastectomy, and it forms a new breast. All incisions are sewn closed, and blood supply to this tissue either remains attached or is reconstructed during surgery. A nipple and areola can be reconstructed at a later time.

This new breast may feel more real since it's your own tissue and not an implant, but it will have little sensation at first.

An advantage of this procedure is that you're using your own tissue for your reconstructed breast, not an artificial implant. A disadvantage is that you've taken a muscle from another part of your body (your abdomen, back, buttocks, or thigh) and that part of you will have a surgical scar and possibly some weakness.

This flap surgery (such as the "tram flap" from the abdomen) is a complicated and long surgery, up to 5 to 10 hours. You will usually spend four or five days in the hospital, and the stitches will be removed in two to three weeks. Full recovery may take 4 to 7 weeks.

 © 1999 Michigan State University
Communication Technology Laboratory