Breast reconstruction is generally performed after mastectomy for breast cancer, but may also be performed to correct a congenital absence or acquired loss of the breast. The procedure may be either “immediate” or “delayed”, and may involve the use of an implant or transfer of your own tissues to reconstruct the breast. “Immediate reconstruction” is usually performed during the same operation as the mastectomy, while “delayed reconstruction” is performed at some later date after the tissues have healed. Reconstruction with an implant may involve placement of a tissue expander to create a pocket for either a saline or silicone gel filled implant.
As with any implant, additional surgical procedures may be necessary in the future to correct changes or replace the implant. In contrast, autologous reconstruction involves the transfer of your natural tissues onto the chest to reconstruct the breast mound. The most commonly utilized techniques are the TRAM (transverse rectus abdominus myocutaneous) and LD (latissimus dorsi) flaps. These flaps typically require a longer initial surgical procedure and a short in-patient hospitalization but can give excellent long term results. Your surgeon can best educate you on which procedure may be best for you.