Benefits of Autologous Breast Reconstruction vs. Implants
If you had a mastectomy as part of your breast cancer treatment, you may be considering reconstruction to get back the look and feel of your natural breast. The two reconstruction options that patients normally choose between are autologous breast reconstruction and implant reconstruction.
Autologous breast reconstruction involves using your own tissue to recreate your breasts and can be done either when you have your mastectomy (immediate reconstruction) or at a later time (delayed reconstruction). Autologous breast reconstruction typically involves multiple stages; however, implant reconstruction often requires several stages as well.
With autologous reconstruction, a plastic surgeon uses the tissue from another place on your body (called a donor site) — typically from your abdomen, buttocks, or thighs – to recreate natural looking (and feeling) breasts. Using microsurgery, the surgeons attach vessels from the donor site to vessels in your chest to provide adequate blood flow to your new breasts.
Many patients who undergo autologous reconstruction, after having implants placed previously, state that their new breasts look and feel more like their old breasts compared to when they had implants.
Women who need radiation therapy before or after their mastectomy may also want to consider autologous breast reconstruction instead of implants because of the higher rate of failure associated with placing an implant under radiated skin and tissue. However, it is important to note that radiation must occur before undergoing autologous breast reconstruction.
Whether you decide to have autologous breast reconstruction or implant reconstruction depends on several factors, including your age, health status, location of the tumor, previous surgeries, and the availability of extra tissue in your body. There are pros and cons of each procedure, so it’s important to talk to your doctor about which one is best for you.
Implant reconstruction carries its own unique set of risks. Risks include inflammatory reaction, leaks, and mechanical implant failures. There is also a chance that excessive scar tissue can form around the implants (capsular contracture) and cause pain and malposition necessitating removal or revision of the reconstructed breast. Due to these possibilities, implants may have to be surgically replaced or exchanged at a later time.
The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction believes in good health for everyone. If you or someone you know is in need of breast reconstruction, contact them at NaturalBreastReconstruction.com or toll-free at 866- 374-2627.