Types of Breast Reconstruction

There are two main categories of breast reconstruction surgery: implant and autologous. In an implant surgery, the breast is usually reshaped in two stages. During the first stage, a tissue expander is used. An implant is placed during the second stage.

In an autologous surgery, that uses natural tissue, the breast is reshaped using muscle, skin, or fat from another part of your body. This surgery can be performed at the same time as mastectomy or at a later time. A mastectomy is a surgery to remove a breast or part of a breast, usually done to treat breast cancer.

A third category of breast reconstruction is involves a combination of implant and autologous surgery.

Partial breast reconstruction is a kind of autologous reconstruction for partial breast defects. This occurs after a lumpectomy, or breast lump removal, which is a surgery to remove a breast cancer along with some surrounding tissue from the breast.

Types of Autologous Breast Reconstruction

Types of Breast Reconstruction: DIEP Flap

Donor tissue site for DIEP flap (left) | After DIEP flap (right)

TAP flap – utilizes the tissue from the area on the side of the breast and the back. As a type of partial breast reconstruction, it’s an option for small defects, such as in breast conservation or lumpectomy patients.

Perforator flap – is a type of autologous reconstruction usually for a total breast reconstruction (but sometimes for smaller defects).

DIEP flap – the most popular type of perforator flap breast reconstruction, this surgery involves transplanting tissue from the lower abdomen to the chest area, using an advanced microsurgery technique.

SIEA flap – second in popularity to DIEP flap, this perforator flap surgery is very similar, except that it involves blood vessels that are more superficial, therefore less dissection is required.

SCAP and IGAP flap – both gluteal perforator flap surgeries, using tissue from the buttocks, these options are ideal for patients who do not have an adequate amount of excess tummy tissue.

For more information about which breast reconstruction surgery is best for you, contact Dr. Elisabeth Potter online or call 512-324-8320.

Illustration Credit: Cancer.org