Unlike breast reconstruction with implants, flap reconstruction utilizes autologous breast tissue from your own body to create realistic-looking breast mounds. Soft tissue, skin, and fat are taken from a donor area such as the stomach, thighs, or back and are transferred to the chest, delivering natural breast reconstruction results that will enhance your self-image and provide closure to your breast cancer journey. 

Dr. Schneider at Austin Face & Body is a seasoned veteran in microsurgery and has the artistry, skill, and experience to achieve your aesthetic goals.

What is flap reconstruction?

Flap reconstruction, also called autologous tissue reconstruction, is a surgical procedure to create breast mounds that look and feel authentic. During the procedure, tissue, fat, and skin are harvested from a donor area such as the thighs, back, abdomen, or buttocks. This means that the patient must have sufficient volume in these areas in order to qualify for flap reconstruction.

What are the different types of flap reconstruction?

  • Free flaps: These are made with autologous tissue that is separated from its blood supply and then is reattached to blood vessels in the chest region. This type of procedure requires that the surgeon be well versed in microsurgery. The surgeon will need to ensure that the blood vessels are working properly and that the new breast mounds are receiving adequate blood flow.
  • Local (pedicled) flaps: Here, the transferred tissue remains connected to its blood vessels. The surgeon will determine if local flap surgery is possible after conducting a thorough physical evaluation and medical review.

What are some of the most common flaps?

DIEP – DIEP stands for Deep Inferior Epigastric Artery Perforator. These types of flaps are taken from the lower abdominal wall and can convincingly recreate the breast mounds without disrupting the stomach muscles. 

SIEA – SIEA stands for Superficial Inferior Epigastric Artery. These flaps are taken from another section of the belly and are transferred with fat and skin to the chest. Using microsurgery, the blood vessels are then reattached without disturbing any muscle groups.

PAP – PAP stands for Profunda Artery Perforator. Here, skin, tissue, and fat are taken from the posterior thigh area to sculpt new breast mounds. This option is ideal for clients who lack the requisite donor tissue in the stomach. PAP is considered a free flap procedure, and no musculature is compromised during the process.

SGAP – SGAP stands for Superior Gluteal Artery Perforator. During this procedure, skin, fat, and tissue are obtained from the upper buttocks, or love handles. It is considered a muscle-sparing procedure. SGAP flaps are often employed when a woman cannot undergo flap surgery using tissue from the abdomen.

TDAP – TDAP stands for Thoracodorsal Artery Perforator. Here, skin, fat, and tissue are taken from the back area and used to rebuild the chest. TDAP is a pedicled flap that preserves the back muscles. The tissue is rotated to the front of the body without the need for reattaching the blood vessels.

What are the benefits of flap reconstruction?

Autologous reconstruction has multiple benefits for women. Firstly, the use of one’s own body tissue leads to a result that is natural and organic-looking. Since no foreign materials are used, there is little risk of allergic reactions. With autologous flap surgery, women do not need to worry about implant leakage or rupturing, and they do not need to concern themselves with having to exchange their implants down the line.

Advantages of Flap Reconstruction at a Glance 

  • Improves breast symmetry
  • Enhances self-confidence
  • Lowers the risk of long-term complications
  • No risk of foreign material allergies
  • Authentic look and feel
  • Helps to sculpt and slim the donor region
  • Lends itself to more nipple reconstruction options
  • Is appropriate for clients who have undergone radiation

Who is a good candidate?

  • You are looking for subtle, natural-looking breast augmentation
  • You wish to use tissue from your own body to create the breast mounds
  • You have sufficient fat to draw from in the donor areas
  • You are healthy, both physically and emotionally
  • You have realistic expectations for your procedure
  • You are free from any significant medical concerns
  • You are willing to follow Dr. Schneider’s instructions

What will my recovery entail?

After surgery, you will need about 3-6 weeks for recovery. This is a bit longer than it takes with implant reconstruction, but the benefits in terms of breast authenticity are considerable. You will be made comfortable with prescription pain medications, and you may have to wear a compression garment to help minimize postoperative swelling. From the second or third day of your recovery, you are encouraged to take gentle walks, which can help minimize complications, boost your circulation, and improve your mood. 

Austin Face & Body

Why choose Austin Face & Body?

Austin Face & Body is a primary destination for anyone seeking a sanctuary for modern aesthetic beauty. Our team of experienced, knowledgeable practitioners is dedicated to providing you with a superior patient experience from start to finish. This means in-depth, personalized consultations, state-of-the-art, accredited facilities, and access to among the most innovative, cutting-edge technologies on the market today.

Flap surgery is performed by Dr. Chris Schneider, a seasoned veteran of microsurgery techniques. His approach to plastic and reconstructive surgery combines artistry and precision to deliver natural-looking, nuanced results that are elegant and timeless. 

Dr. Schneider graduated from Texas A&M University College of Medicine before going on to complete a demanding general surgery residency at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. At the Louisiana State University Health Science Center in New Orleans, Dr. Schneider honed his skills in microsurgery, mastering the art of perforator flaps under the guidance of among the world's foremost pioneers in the field of autologous reconstruction. 

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