There’s a positive trend for women facing mastectomy to take more control over how their breasts will be reconstructed, and increasingly that includes using their own body’s tissue for creation of breasts with a very natural look and feel. This breast reconstruction procedure is known as autologous breast reconstruction, or free tissue transfer.

Simply put, we remove skin, fat and blood vessels — referred to as the “tissue flap” — from an area of the body, typically the abdomen. We immediately transfer the tissue flap to fill up the breast skin, surgically attaching the tissue flap via the blood vessels, so it actually becomes part of the breasts.

Using the body’s tissue offers breasts that look and feel incredibly natural, with the added benefit of excess abdominal fat removal. But the autologous reconstructive surgery is more complex, and the recovery period is typically longer, than with breast implant reconstruction. The decision for each woman generally comes down to her goals for surgery, recovery and aesthetic outcome, and which procedure will best suit her body type. A significant consideration with autologous breast reconstruction is a woman’s smoking habit — smoking constricts the blood vessels needed for successful surgery.

We are trained microsurgeons, and have extensive experience in autologous breast reconstruction, including immediate reconstruction within the same surgery as mastectomy, and with nipple-sparing mastectomy. We welcome your questions and are happy to speak with you about the option of autologous breast reconstruction.