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Ann B. Barshinger Cancer Institute

Breast Cancer

Learn more about Breast Density

Cancer Institute > Breast > Breast Reconstruction

Breast Reconstruction after Mastectomy

Restoring the breast after mastectomy can play an important role in improving quality of life breast cancer patients. Our breast and reconstructive surgeons offer a wide range of approaches to preserve body image, ranging from oncoplastic surgery using skin sparing/nipple sparing techniques to reconstruction with implants.

We offer free flap autologous breast construction or more simply, reconstruction utilizing the patient’s own tissue. For appropriate candidates, this microsurgical procedure expands the breast surgery and reconstruction options already available.

What is a “free flap” autologous breast construction?

In contrast to implants, autologous, tissue reconstruction uses a flap of tissue from the patient’s body to rebuild the breast mound. If this method is selected, the next choice is where to obtain the necessary tissue. There are several options, but typically the tissue is transferred from the upper or lower buttocks or thighs.

In many cases, the tissue remains connected to the original blood vessels. For some patients, disconnecting the blood vessels and reconnecting them to the blood supply in the new location may offer an easier recovery and more natural appearance.

For appropriate patients, advantages may include:

  • More natural appearance, shape and consistency of the reconstructed breast.
  • Reduced risk of infection and complications.
  • Reduced risk of capsular contracture, which can occur when scar tissue compresses the implant.
  • Elimination of the need for a “tunnel” through muscle, fat and skin to reroute blood flow.
  • Long-lasting results

Exploring your options

Breast reconstruction can be performed at the same time or after the mastectomy. Your doctor or nurse navigator can explain the options.

Click here for more information on breast reconstruction.

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