Breast Reconstruction (cont.)
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Flap reconstruction is a reconstructive surgery in which a flap of skin and fat with or without muscle is transplanted from a part of the body (for example, the lower abdomen, back, thigh, or buttock) to the chest area where it is shaped to form a new breast mound. Like the implant surgery, this operation can be performed at the same time as the mastectomy or it can be delayed.
Advantages of flap reconstruction include the following:
Disadvantages of flap reconstruction include the following:
Because flap reconstruction involves small blood vessels, women who smoke or have diabetes, vascular diseases, or connective tissue diseases are usually advised that they are at higher risks of wound healing complications in both implant and flap-based reconstructions.
Some women may require an implant, in addition to the flap reconstruction, for recreating the breast.
If flap reconstruction is the selected option for reconstructive surgery, then the surgeon must decide from which part of the body the required tissues are taken. The tissues for breast reconstruction can be taken from the following areas:
Prior to mastectomy, all women should have the opportunity to meet with a qualified plastic surgeon to discuss breast implant and flap breast reconstruction methods. The surgeon and the woman will discuss each alternative and choose the most appropriate one to meet the specific requirements and personal preferences. However, if this did not occur, it is never too late to learn more about breast reconstruction. Many women who did not proceed with immediate breast reconstruction are still good candidates even years after their mastectomy.
Marga Massey, MD
Leigh A Neumayer, MD, MS, FACS
Galen Poole, MD, FACS
Mary L Windle, PharmD
Lee P Shulman, MD
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