Breast Reconstruction with Flaps

When you face breast reconstruction, you're looking at more than a surgical procedure; it's about restoring your body's shape and reclaiming your self-esteem after a mastectomy.

Your path to reconstruction may involve flap surgery, where tissue from another part of your body, like the abdomen or back, is used to create a new breast mound.

Types of Flap Procedures

You can choose between immediate or delayed breast reconstruction after your mastectomy and other cancer treatments. The journey often starts with an expander to prepare the skin, followed by an implant or flap to complete the reconstruction.

Transverse Rectus Abdominis Muscle Flap

This is a type of breast reconstruction procedure where tissue, including skin, fat, and muscle, is taken from the lower abdomen and moved to the chest to create a new breast mound.

The tissue remains attached to its original blood supply in a "pedicled" TRAM flap. In a "free" TRAM flap, the tissue is completely detached and then reattached to the blood vessels in the chest.

Deep Inferior Epigastric Perforator Flap

Like the TRAM flap, the DIEP flap uses skin and fat from the lower abdomen to reconstruct the breast. However, unlike the TRAM flap, no muscle is taken.

Instead, only the skin and fat, along with the accompanying blood vessels (perforators), are removed and transferred to the chest. This results in less muscle weakness and quicker recovery than TRAM flap surgery.

Latissimus Dorsi Flap

This procedure involves taking muscle, skin, and fat from the upper back and tunneling it to the front of the chest to create a new breast mound. This method may be used when there is not enough tissue in the abdomen for TRAM or DIEP flaps or when the patient prefers not to use abdominal tissue.

Finding Care at CHRISTUS

Choosing the right reconstruction method is a collaborative process with your plastic surgeon. It's about understanding your options and what is best for your health, body, and preferences. You'll have a dedicated team to manage your surgery and support your return to everyday life.