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Breast Reconstruction After Surgery

Tissue Flap Surgery

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With tissue flap surgery, a surgeon builds a new breast-like shape from muscle, fat, and skin taken from other parts of the body, such as the abdomen or back.  (If the skin is taken from the lower abdomen, the procedure is sometimes referred to as a "tummy tuck." On the flip side, it may also result in a weakening of the abdominal wall.)

Tissue flap surgery produces excellent results. It is generally better than implants for older women and those with large breasts. Women who are very thin or obese, smoke, or have other serious health problems often cannot have tissue flap surgery.

This new breast-like shape should last a lifetime.

Tissue flap is major surgery and is more complicated than breast implant surgery. Healing often takes longer after this surgery than with breast implants. There may be other problems as well from tissue flap surgery. For example, there may be a loss of strength in the part of the body where muscle was taken to build a new breast. Or there may be an infection or difficulty healing.

Tissue flap surgery is generally not performed in heavy smokers, women with diabetes or women with connective tissue or vascular disorders.

Tissue flap surgery is best done by a reconstructive plastic surgeon who has done it many times before. For information about how to choose a plastic surgeon, click here.

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