RESTORATIVE BREAST RECONSTRUCTION…Flap Methods
The reasons women choose to have restorative breast procedures are well stated in these quotes …
“I need to feel whole again,” – “You have given me back what cancer took away,” – “The reconstruction of my breasts made me feel restored…not reconstructed,” – “I want to look as good as I feel,” – “I want to look and feel sexy again…and want my husband to see me as sexy.”
These are but a few of many thousands of thoughts from women who wanted to fully recover from their breast cancer…with a whole body.
Today, I review Flap Procedures (Stage II Breast Reconstruction/Restoration). There are a variety of Flap Procedures used to restore breasts…not every type is right for every woman, but we determine this after careful and thorough evaluation of your needs and goals. I tailor each flap procedure to achieve beautiful natural looking breasts. There are four muscle flap techniques as follows:
1) Latissimus Dorsi Flap uses a flap of skin and muscle from the back on the same side as the operated breast. This is transferred forward to form a breast mound that will look and feel natural since it is your own living tissue.
2) TRAM Flap is the most common form of living tissue breast restorative techniques used today. It creates a natural looking, soft, warm breast. TRAM Flap involves either free flap or pedicled flap techniques. Pedicled flap means the tissue remains attached to its blood supply. TRAM Flap procedures employ skin, fat and muscle removed from the lower abdomen and transferred to the chest.
3) DIEP Flap reconstruction employs excess skin and fat from the lower abdominal area, through an incision similar to that used for Tummy Tucks. This is a “perforator flap” technique that is muscle sparing…meaning no muscle function is sacrificed, but warm living tissue is used instead.
4) Gracilis Flap harvests excess skin and fat from the inner thigh to restore natural looking, soft, warm breasts. This may be a TUT Flap (without muscle) which is referred to as a Transverse Upper Thigh Flap. When a small amount of muscle is required…a TUG Flap is employed. Either flap can be harvested so the donor scar is discretely hidden inside the upper thigh.
This is a brief overview of the 4 Flap techniques used for restorative breast reconstructions. Each of them has it’s own virtues… and all offer beautiful, natural looking and feeling breasts. I have guided many women through making the right choices so as to ensure optimum results.
GOALS of RESTORATIVE BREAST PROCEDURES
Goals are critical to good outcomes. You must have yours…here are mine: “all cosmetic surgery should be functional & all reconstructive surgery should be aesthetic & look as natural as possible.”
ADVICE TO MY PATIENTS
Always ask me questions; ask to see pictures of my patients, gather information and consults with trusted mentors, make your decision. There are NO wrong decisions. Choose a qualified, Board Certified surgeon with specialized training and expertise in reconstructive surgeries.
Next blog will cover Implant Breast Restoration.
Dr. Steven Davison
“At DAVinci…we combine the supreme elements of art & surgical science.”