Breast Reconstruction

Breast(s) can be reconstructed using your own tissue. Autologous reconstruction (sometimes called autogenous reconstruction) uses tissue — skin, fat, and sometimes muscle — from another place on the body to form a breast shape. The tissue (called a “flap”) usually comes from the belly, back, buttocks, or inner thighs to create the reconstructed breast.

When appropriate, Dr. Sabry will recommend breast reconstruction using tissue from someplace else on the body. The reason to consider it as a first option is that autologus tissue usually lasts a lifetime. Conversely, implants normally have to be replaced after 10 or 20 years. Also, the tissue from the belly, buttocks, and upper thighs is very similar to breast tissue in texture and quality. It can feel quite natural.

Many of Dr. Sabry’s patients are pleased with breast reconstruction or augmentation using belly tissue because it’s like having a tummy tuck to rebuild a breast. There is an overall toning effect to the abdomen. However if you are planning a future pregnancy this option is not recommended because of the strain it puts on the abdominal wall.

If your procedure is reconstructive rather than cosmetic, a lift or reduction of the opposite breast may be necessary for better symmetry. This can be performed at the time of nipple areola reconstruction.

Things to consider:

  • There will be at least two and perhaps four areas of the body that will be healing at the same time — your reconstructed breast(s) and the donor tissue site(s).
  • There is generally no “one and done” option with autologous methods:  Revisions are almost always required to make adjustments to nipple construction, flap shape and/or position, and  additional fat harvesting from the donor site may be required to ensure symmetry.
  • The breast(s) will get larger or smaller as your body changes with weight gain and/or loss.
  • Flap reconstructions tolerate radiation therapy better than implants alone do.
  • Once tissue is harvested to build a flap, the same donor site cannot be used again in the future.

A first step in the process is a comprehensive consultation and evaluation with Dr. Sabry so that the reasons for surgery are well established, and you have a good understanding of realistic outcomes. Dr. Sabry will review the pros and cons of all approaches in detail. Good communication is the key to achieving the results you want. If you are in good general health, have a positive attitude and realistic expectations, you are most likely a good candidate for this procedure. Dr. Sabry is meticulous in achieving a natural, symmetrical, beautiful outcome.

As you approach the date of your surgery you will have a comprehensive preoperative visit in our office approximately two weeks before your breast surgery. A complete list of “dos and don’ts” will be reviewed as well as the pre and postoperative instructions and any questions that remain will be answered. You will be directed to avoid anything that has a blood-thinning effect (aspirin, ibuprofen, vitamin E etc.) for two weeks before surgery. If you are a smoker, you will be asked to quit smoking for 6-8 weeks prior to your procedure. You will be asked to minimize alcohol intake. Basic blood work for preoperative testing will be ordered, and any breast imaging studies that are required (age and past medical history appropriate) will be obtained.

The physical effects of autologous breast reconstruction are important to consider especially for patients with very active lifestyles. There will be an impact on various parts of your body, your range of motion, your physical strength, and your normal day-to-day activities. Dr. Sabry will see you for post-operative visits during your recovery. He and our staff will answer any questions you may have about your recovery, as well as your overall health and well-being.