Using your own tissue (flap reconstruction)
This type of reconstruction is more complex than implant reconstruction. It involves transferring a flap of skin, fat, and sometimes muscle from another part of your body (the donor site) to your chest wall to create a breast shape. The flap is usually taken from either your abdomen or back.
Flap reconstruction can be used to create a new breast after a mastectomy or to replace breast tissue that has been removed during a lumpectomy (wide local excision).
This type of reconstruction may be appropriate if you:
- have had or need to have radiotherapy as part of your treatment
- cannot have an implant or tissue expansion because the skin of the breast and muscle is too tight or because a large part of skin and muscle has been removed from the breast
- have large or droopy breast, and do not wish to have smaller breasts
- do not want a breast implant.
- Reconstruction using your own tissue gives a more natural shape and feel to the reconstructed breast.
- It is suitable if you have large or small breasts.
- You can create a breast with a more natural droop.
- The need for an implant can be avoided.
- The operation will leave a scar on the part of the body that the flap of tissue has been taken from as well as a patch of skin on the reconstructed breast. Because this patch of skin was taken from another part of your body, its texture and color may be different from the skin of the breast.
- It involves having surgery in another part of the body to remove the skin flap.
- You will be operated on, and the hospital stay and recovery will be longer.
- Reconstructed breasts are less sensitive than the original breast.