Autologous flap breast reconstruction avoids an implant and utilizes a patient’s own tissue to reconstruct the breasts. Soft tissue, skin, and fat are taken from a donor area with excess tissue and are transferred to the chest with a healthy new blood supply. These surgeries deliver some of the most natural-looking breast reconstruction results that will enhance your self-image and help provide closure to your breast cancer journey. 

What is autologous flap reconstruction?

Autologous is defined as “tissue obtained from the same individual.” Therefore, during these reconstructions, skin, soft tissue, and fat, are harvested from an area of excess, referred to as the donor area. Most commonly, these donor areas are the abdomen, thighs, back, or buttocks. The excess tissue, known as a flap, is then transferred to the chest to create breast mounds that look and feel authentic. 

Flaps used for breast reconstruction vary in complexity, primarily based on their anatomical origin. Local flaps are taken from areas surrounding the chest and are repositioned to the breasts while remaining attached to their native blood supply. Free flaps are much more complex surgeries that involve completely removing the tissue and preserving its blood supply from the donor area. The free flap is then transferred to the breast position where flap vessels are reattached to the chest vessels using microsurgical techniques. Microsurgery is complex and requires extraordinary technical skills. Dr. Schneider trained at one of the highest volume microsurgery programs under pioneers in the field while at LSU. As a result, he is able to offer a wide range of autologous flap reconstructions based on the needs of his patients. 

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. 

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.

GAP – 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 distinct advantages. First and most importantly, the use of one’s own body tissue creates a natural-looking and feeling breast. Additionally, it avoids the use of foreign materials, such as an implant or cadaver-based tissues.  Furthermore, with autologous flap surgery, women do not need to worry about implant leakage and rupturing, or exchanging their implants in the future.

Advantages of Flap Reconstruction at a Glance 

  • Enhances self confidence
  • Uses patient’s own tissue to reconstruct the breast 
  • Avoids complications associated with implants 
  • Natural-looking and feeling result
  • Improves contour of the donor site
  • A reconstructive option for larger sized breasts
  • Better option for patients facing radiation 

Who is a good candidate?

  • You desire a natural looking breast reconstruction 
  • You wish to use tissue from your own body to reconstruct the breasts
  • You wish to avoid using an implant 
  • You desire reconstruction after your breast cancer journey to feel whole again 

What will my recovery entail?

After surgery, you will spend a few nights in the hospital to ensure the flaps are healing well. You will be discharged home to recover, which takes 3-6 weeks, depending on the patient and type of reconstruction. Dr. Schneider will do his best to control your post-operative discomfort with a multi-modal pain therapy regimen, including nerve blocks at the time of surgery. You will also be given a compression garment post-operatively to help reduce the swelling and improve your contour. Dr. Schneider will see you regularly in the clinic after surgery to ensure you are progressing well. 

Austin Face & Body

Why choose Austin Face & Body?

Austin Face & Body is a premier practice for patients seeking first-class, 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 the most innovative, cutting-edge technologies on the market today.

Breast flap surgery is performed by Dr. Chris Schneider, a skilled microsurgeon. His approach to plastic and reconstructive surgery combines artistry and precision to deliver natural-looking results that are elegant and timeless. 

Dr. Schneider is a native Texan but completed his plastic and reconstructive surgery training in Crescent City. While 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 the world's foremost pioneers in the field of autologous breast reconstruction. He returns home to the Lone Star state to help breast cancer survivors regain their sense of femininity by offering the highest quality breast reconstruction.

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