Implant Vs. Tissue Flap Reconstruction: Part I
When meeting a potential breast reconstruction patient, I first explore their ultimate aesthetic goal for breast reconstruction. I usually ask them, “If we could wave a magic wand and make your breasts fuller, smaller, lifted, or different in any way, how would you want them to be?” We then incorporate these goals into our reconstructive plan. It is not always possible to achieve all these goals in a single reconstructive surgery, but it gives us a framework to make a plan for an individualized approach to each patient in order to achieve her specific goals for breast reconstruction!
That being said, the two main options for breast reconstruction are breast implants and the body’s natural tissue (known as a “flap” or autogenous reconstruction). Women seeking implants for breast reconstruction are often very thin without much fatty tissue elsewhere, wish to be reconstructed slightly fuller than their current breast size, and wish to have the simplest procedure with slightly shorter recovery time. Alternatively, a flap reconstruction – be it a DIEP flap, SIEA flap, or TUG flap – might be selected by women who are heavier, have a large area of fat in their abdomen or inner thigh area, do not wish to have any “foreign” material in their body, and who understand the specific advantages associated with having a flap.
To learn about the advantages and disadvantages of breast reconstruction with implants, stay tuned for “Implant Vs. Tissue Flap Reconstruction: Part II.”