Autologous breast reconstruction
Nowadays, microsurgical techniques are available to transfer tissue from one region in the body to another region. The surgeon removes skin and subcutaneous fat tissue without the underlying muscle and transfers this tissue flap (perforator flap) to the chest wall to reconstruct the breast. Microsurgery is used to restore the blood flow and we anastomose the small blood vessels (artery and vein) of the perforator flap to the blood vessels in the chest region. Microsurgical tissue transfer is the ideal approach to reconstruct a natural looking breast.
The different steps in breast reconstruction
The first step in the breast reconstructive process is to reconstruct the breast itself. This is the longest surgical procedure. After this first procedure, we wait for 6 months to allow wounds to heal and settle down. The breast will become softer during this time period. After 6 months the second step is the remodeling phase. We will now look at symmetry between both breasts. The other non operated breast can be lifted or reduced in volume according to the clinical presentation. Often we perform scar revisions on the reconstructed breast or in the abdominal region. This procedure is usually performed in a one day clinic admission. The third step is the nipple reconstruction and is done approximately 3 months after the second step. It can be performed under local anesthesia. Finally, nipple and areola tattoo are done after the nipple reconstruction.