Dr. Michaels' Blog

Autologous Breast Reconstruction 4: Using Your Own Body Tissue

By July 24, 2013October 1st, 2013No Comments

What if you want breast reconstruction but don’t want a synthetic substance in your body? There are many advantages to using your body’s own tissue to reconstruct the breast. Your own skin and fat can look and feel more natural than an implant. And if you use tissue from your abdomen to build the new breast, you get the additional benefit of abdominal tightening. Finally, your own tissue, once healed, cannot break or cause bad reactions later, like implants sometimes do.
Several areas can be used to recreate the breast mound. My favorite is the abdomen, because the skin and fat most closely resemble the breast. Also, women who have had children often have some excess tissue in the lower abdomen, making it an idea donor site. If the abdomen is scarred from previous surgery, the back can be the donor. If the back doesn’t have the necessary fat, an implant may have to be used to increase the volume of the reconstruction.
Of course, using your own tissue is more complicated than using an implant. There is usually a 2-3 day hospital stay, as well as another surgical site that needs to heal. Most often a muscle is used to conduct blood flow to the reconstruction, which can result in diminished strength in the donor area.
Interestingly, if you add up all the hospital and recuperation time, implant and tissue reconstructions actually take the same amount of time. With the implant it is a commitment over months—sometimes years. With your own tissue the time is all up front.