How Does Breast Flap Reconstruction Work?

A mastectomy may have saved your life, but there’s no denying the emotional aftermath. Many women feel out of touch with their old selves and their femininity following the surgery. 

The good news is you don’t have to feel that way forever. 

Dr. Matthew Lynch is an expert plastic surgeon with years of experience performing breast reconstruction surgery. In this blog, we walk through the finer points of flap breast reconstruction surgery and what you can expect from the procedure. 

Understanding breast reconstruction with flap surgery

Breast reconstruction surgery of any kind has one goal: to restore your breasts after a mastectomy (or, in some cases, a botched breast surgery). 

Breast reconstruction with flap surgery involves taking a section of tissue from one area of your body (typically your abdomen) and relocating it to create and form a new breast. 

This type of breast surgery is incredibly complicated — only a specialist-trained, highly skilled plastic surgeon like Dr. Lynch can perform this procedure.  

A closer look at the process

We usually meet with our breast reconstruction patients long before the surgery is needed. Often, we work closely with your breast surgeon, who performs the mastectomy, and make plans to reconstruct your breasts as soon as it’s safe to do so. 

During this consultation and preparation phase, we describe your surgical options and show you before and after photos to help you understand the possible outcomes of reconstruction surgery. 

If you’re not having a double mastectomy, we may recommend having surgery on your healthy breast to ensure both breasts look and feel the same. 

We also discuss the surgical method we’ll use during your reconstruction, either pedicled flap surgery or free flap surgery. 

Pedicled flap surgery involves cutting some of the blood vessels to the tissue to be transferred but leaves other blood vessels intact. After tunneling the tissue beneath your skin to your chest area, we create a new breast mound or pocket for the implant. 

With free flap surgery, we disconnect the tissue completely from its blood supply and reattach it to a new blood vessel in your chest. Because of reattaching blood vessels, this type of flap surgery usually takes longer to complete. 

There are a few different types of flap surgery to consider as well. Depending on your specific needs and body type, we recommend one of the following:

Following flap surgery, you should also expect to undergo nipple reconstruction to restore your breast completely. 

Why flap breast reconstruction?

Flap breast reconstruction is a complicated procedure, but there are many benefits. Since we create your breasts from living tissue, your breasts end up looking and feeling very close to the way they did before. 

Our ideal candidate is a healthy nonsmoker (or at least willing to quit before, during, and after surgery). You should also:

Whatever stage of breast surgery you’re currently in, we’d love to talk to you about your reconstruction options. Call or click to schedule a consultation with Dr. Lynch at our East Windsor, New Jersey, office today.

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