Differences Between Implant Vs. Tissue Breast Reconstruction

breast reconstruction houstonFor breast cancer patients facing a mastectomy, there are two main types of breast reconstruction options: implant-based breast reconstruction and tissue based breast reconstruction. Houston plastic surgeons Dr. Fusi & Dr. Craig are highly trained and skilled in both procedure types. If you need help deciding which reconstruction option is right for you, we want to further explain the differences between the two.

Implant-Based Breast Reconstruction

Utilizing breast implants to reconstruct the breasts is much different than an elective breast augmentation procedure. With implant-based breast reconstruction, temporary implants called tissue expanders are placed in the chest area at the time of your mastectomy. These tissue expanders restore the look of your breasts at the time of your mastectomy and are inflated postoperatively. Later on, at a time that does not interfere with your breast cancer treatment plan, these temporary tissue expanders will be replaced with silicone or saline breast implants.

Breast implants come with their own set of maintenance. First, if you receive silicone implants – the most popular breast implant type – you’ll need to undergo an MRI every two to three years to confirm that the implants have not ruptured. Additionally, silicone and saline breast implants should be replaced every 10 years.

Finally, breast implant reconstruction is not an option for everyone. Houston women who are obese, undergoing radiation treatment, have autoimmune diseases or have had previous surgical treatment may not be candidates for implant-based breast reconstruction.

Tissue-Based Breast Reconstruction

For Houston women who either don’t want or can’t have implant-based breast reconstructions, tissue-based reconstruction is an option. Using skin, fat, blood vessels and sometimes muscles from either the abdomen, thighs or buttocks, Dr. Fusi & Dr. Craig use microsurgery techniques to weave together blood supplies, so the harvested tissue will “take” and be used to reconstruct the breasts.

There are several types of tissue-based breast reconstruction options available:

  • DIEP flap surgery, which is a muscle-sparing surgery that uses abdominal tissue to rebuild your breasts;
  • TRAM flap surgery, which uses abdominal fat, skin, blood supply and muscle to reconstruct your breasts;
  • SIEA flap surgery, which uses lower abdominal tissue;
  • SGAP flap, which uses tissue from your upper buttocks to reconstruct your breasts; and
  • PAP flap, which takes tissue from your inner thighs.

Tissue-based breast reconstruction surgery can be performed at the same time you receive your mastectomy.

Learning More About Your Breast Reconstruction Options

If you’d like to know more about breast reconstruction options, including which options you are a candidate for, the best thing you can do is schedule an appointment in the Houston office of Dr. Fusi & Dr. Craig. During a consultation, Dr. Fusi & Dr. Craig will examine your breast cancer treatment plan, perform a body evaluation to determine if you have enough tissue to be harvested from one of the three tissue-based donor sites and answer any questions that you may have regarding your breast reconstruction procedure. When you choose Dr. Fusi & Dr. Craig to reconstruct your breasts, they will work closely with the surgeon performing your mastectomy before the procedure to coordinate the best possible care for you.

To schedule a consultation appointment with Dr. Fusi & Dr. Craig today, call (713) 346-9099.