Restoring Natural Curves with Breast Reconstruction Flap Techniques
By Sheryl Pilcher on March 22, 2017
When considering breast reconstruction procedures, most women prefer the option that will restore the most natural feel and appearance to their breasts. At Accent Plastic Surgery, P.A. in San Antonio, TX, we specialize in breast reconstruction flap techniques. These reconstructive methods use a woman’s own tissues to reconstruct the breast, resulting in the most natural appearance and feel possible.
Types of Breast Reconstruction Flap Techniques
Most breast reconstruction flap techniques utilize tissue from the abdomen or upper back, although other alternatives are also available. These techniques include the TRAM flap, DIEP flap, and the latissimus dorsi flap.
The transverse rectus abdominis muscle, or TRAM, flap technique utilizes the muscles and tissues in the abdomen to reconstruct the breast. Women with adequate tissue in this area generally do not need to combine the technique with an implant. One of the benefits of the TRAM flap is a flatter tummy in addition to the reconstructed breast. However, it does weaken the muscles in the abdomen.
There are two different TRAM flap techniques: pedicle and free flaps. Pedicle flaps leave the tissues attached to their original blood supply; free flaps disconnect and reattach the blood vessels. There are pros and cons to both procedures, which our doctors can discuss with you in detail.
The DIEP, or deep inferior epigastric perforator, flap takes fat and skin from the abdomen but leaves the abdominal muscles intact. The free flap technique is required for this procedure, and as with the TRAM flap, it can result in a flatter tummy for patients who choose this method.
Latissimus Dorsi Flap
This technique is most often combined with a breast implant to achieve the desired size and shape. The muscle, fat, and skin from the upper back are moved to the chest. An implant is placed beneath these new tissues to ensure a natural shape and feel.
Benefits of Flap Techniques
Many women desire breast reconstruction using flap techniques because it is more natural. The use of their own tissues can usually prevent the need for an implant, so there are no foreign objects placed within the body. Additionally, a woman’s own tissues will achieve a look and feel that implants just cannot mimic.
In order to qualify for one of the above flap techniques, a woman must have adequate tissues in the abdomen or upper back. Many women enjoy the added benefit of a flatter tummy when they go with the TRAM or DIEP flap options. This can help a woman feel more confident about her body at a time when she may be feeling self-conscious about her appearance.
Find Out if a Flap Technique Is Right for You
The only way to determine if one of the above flap techniques is appropriate for your breast reconstruction is to contact our office and schedule a consultation. We will carefully evaluate your overall health as well as the amount of tissue at the desired donor sites in order to determine whether a flap technique is a possible option.
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“If you need breast augmentation or any cosmetic surgery, I would highly recommend Dr. Pilcher....This has been the best decision I have made.” Quintessa M.