This surgical approach can be performed alone or simultaneously with implant reconstruction. It can also be done at different times, immediately after mastectomy or later.
Autologous breast reconstruction offers the following benefits compared to implant reconstruction:
- It is generally a single procedure that lasts a lifetime because it uses the patient’s natural fat
- There is less chance of rejection or infection since it uses donor tissue instead of a foreign body
- This approach is more likely to look natural
- You are more likely to regain minimal sensation in your breast with autologous reconstruction than with an implant
The tissue can be separated from its original blood vessels before being picked up and moved to its new place in your chest; this is frequently referred to as a “free flap.” Or, the tissue can remain attached to its original blood vessels and move under your skin to your chest, referred to as a “pedicled flap.” In both types, the tissue is formed into the shape of a breast and stitched into place. Because pedicled flaps have been around longer and are easier to do, they are generally more widely available.