Microvascular breast reconstruction is an advanced surgery for women who wish to reconstruct their breasts after a mastectomy, but without the use of implants. To perform this procedure, a surgeon must be extensively trained in both plastic surgery and microvascular surgery. At Austin Face & Body, we are proud to be among an elite group of physicians that is qualified to offer this exceptional procedure.

A holistic approach to breast reconstruction

After a mastectomy for breast cancer, you deserve personalized care that takes into account your unique medical history, body type, health status, and aesthetic goals. That’s what our surgeons strive to provide at Austin Face & Body. We understand that breast implants aren’t the right option for every woman, and we can help you determine if microvascular breast reconstruction is an alternative for you.

What is microvascular surgery for breast reconstruction?

Microvascular surgery restores the breast mound and creates natural-looking symmetry after a mastectomy. The surgery involves taking tissue (and sometimes muscle) from one area of your body and relocating it to create a new breast mound. The main benefit of this procedure is that it results in a very natural-feeling breast. The surgery can be performed at the same time as your mastectomy, although some women choose to wait and undergo a separate procedure at a later date. 

Am I a candidate?

We will confirm candidacy during your private consultation at our Austin office. However, most of our patients are candidates for breast reconstruction after mastectomy. As long as you have excess tissue available, you should be able to undergo this procedure. 

The procedure: 

What to expect

Microvascular breast reconstruction is performed under general anesthesia. It is a more extensive procedure than implant replacement. As such, it may require larger incisions and a longer recovery period. 

There are a number of techniques available, depending on which flap you and your surgeon decide to use for the procedure. During your private consultation, we will help you determine which one is right for you:

  • TRAM flap. During this procedure, one of our surgeons will remove tissue and muscle from your abdomen. This flap will be transferred to the chest to restore your breast shape.
  • DIEP flap. This is similar to the TRAM flap, but only skin and fat are removed from the abdomen. Once relocated to the chest area, the surgeon will reattach blood vessels.
  • SIEA flap. This is a variation of the DIEP flap that is slightly less invasive. Your surgeon will use the same tissue from the DIEP flap, but different blood vessels that aren’t as deep. 
  • Back. The latissimus dorsi flap involves taking skin, fat and muscle from your upper back. It requires less tissue when compared to a TRAM flap approach, so it can be ideal for women who want to restore small to medium-sized breasts. 
  • Buttocks. The gluteal flap extracts tissue from the buttocks. It’s ideal for women who don’t have enough extra tissue elsewhere on the body.
  • Inner thigh. The transverse upper gracilis (TUG) flap is a newer variation on microvascular breast reconstruction. It takes tissue and muscle from the inner thigh and bottom of the buttocks.   

Recovery

After microvascular breast reconstruction, you will need to stay in the hospital for three to four days to ensure your safety. From there, you can expect to be sore for a few weeks after surgery. Our office will prescribe pain medication to help you manage the discomfort. 

It can take six weeks or more until you’re cleared to resume your normal, pre-surgery activities, and our surgeons and nurses will make sure you’re well-versed on how to care for your drains and incisions as you heal. 

Your results

In general, your new breasts won’t look exactly like your natural ones did. However, with microvascular breast reconstruction, they will be soft, have a natural feel, and you’ll have symmetry in the area. This approach to breast reconstruction can help a woman feel better about her appearance, and most of our Austin patients are extremely happy with their results. Although this procedure won’t restore full normal feeling to your breasts, some sensations may return over time. 

FAQ 

How much does microvascular breast reconstruction cost?

The cost of your reconstruction will be discussed during your private consultation at our Austin office and will depend on the length and complexity of the surgery.

Making the choice:

Flap reconstruction or implants?

Both flap reconstruction and implants are safe and effective types of breast reconstruction. Microvascular breast reconstruction creates a larger, softer breast, while implants tend to be the ideal solution for smaller, thin women. In addition, flap reconstruction is a more extensive and complex surgery, so it takes longer and requires a more extensive healing process. 

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