What Are the Major Types of Breast Reconstruction?

DIEP Surgery connecticutChoosing to have breast reconstruction after a mastectomy can be a very confusing and emotional time for Houston women. You’ve received a breast cancer diagnosis, gone through treatments and have decided to take the most precautionary measure possible to remove the cancerous tissue and prevent it from coming back. And, you’ve also decided to undergo reconstructive surgery to restore your body. Now, you’ve got to decide which type of breast reconstruction surgery to have, and it likely feels like there is so much information to digest, that it is overwhelming. After all, many women who undergo breast reconstruction in Houston have never had or even considered elective plastic surgery. Now, you are meeting with a plastic surgeon to discuss restoring one of the most personal aspects of your body. To help you navigate the world of breast reconstruction, Houston plastic surgeons Dr. Fusi & Dr. Craig have prepared the following information on the two major types of breast reconstruction – flap reconstruction and implant-based breast reconstruction.

What is Flap Reconstruction?

Flap breast reconstruction is when a plastic surgeon uses tissue from your own body to reconstruct your breasts. Many Houston women prefer to have a flap reconstruction at the time of their mastectomy because it results in a more natural feeling breast.

In their Houston practice, Dr. Fusi & Dr. Craig perform the following types of flap breast reconstruction:

A DIEP flap breast reconstruction is performed with Dr. Fusi & Dr. Craig using skin, fat, tissue and blood vessels from your lower abdomen to rebuild your breast. It is ideal for women who have extra tissue in their lower abdomen. With a DIEP flap, none of your muscular tissue is used, an aspect of the surgery that many Houston women prefer.

A SIEA flap is a less common abdominal flap breast reconstruction surgery. With a SIEA flap, the superficial inferior epigastric artery (SIEA) is removed along with fat and skin from your lower abdomen, then used to reconstruct your breasts. SIEA flap breast reconstruction surgery is also muscle-sparing and is ideal for women who have an excess of tissue below their belly button, though it cannot be performed if you have previously had liposuction or a tummy tuck.

  • SGAP Flap

With an SGAP flap reconstruction, Dr. Fusi & Dr. Craig will take tissue from your upper buttocks and hips to reconstruct your breasts. An SGAP flap is a muscle-sparing surgery and is typically performed if a woman needs to reconstruct both breasts, but either doesn’t have sufficient tissue to take from the abdomen, or has previously had abdominal surgery such as a tummy tuck. 

  • PAP Flap

A PAP flap, another muscle-sparing breast reconstruction option, uses tissue, blood vessels, and skin from your thighs to rebuild your breasts. A PAP flap is usually used on women with small to medium breasts that are not good candidates for a DIEP or SIEA flap surgery.

What is Implant-based Breast Reconstruction?

While there are many options for flap breast reconstruction surgery, some women opt to have a breast implant-based reconstruction, often to prevent them from having tissue taken from a donor site. With a breast implant-based reconstruction, a silicone or saline implant is placed below the pectoral muscle. While a breast implant-based reconstruction surgery is a faster procedure than a flap breast reconstruction, using implants to restore breasts may eventually require additional surgeries to perfect the implant placement or replace the implant over time.

Which Breast Reconstruction Surgery is Right for You?

While you may have a preference between flap or implant-based breast reconstruction, it can be difficult for you to know which breast reconstruction surgery option is right for your unique case. Only a consultation with a skilled breast reconstruction surgeon like Houston’s Dr. Fusi & Dr. Craig can determine exactly which surgery is right for you.

To schedule a consultation with Dr. Fusi & Dr. Craig, call their Houston offices at (713) 346-9909 today.