In an autologous reconstruction, your breast is shaped from existing muscle, fat and skin (tissue) taken from other areas of your body. Your surgeon will work with you to determine if you are a suitable candidate for an autologous (or "flap") breast reconstruction.
There are four common areas of your body from which a breast flap can be formed for reconstruction.
The chart outlines the potential advantages and disadvantages of autologous breast reconstruction.
Potential Advantages | Potential Disadvantages
- More natural look and feel
- No risk of implant related complications
- Breasts will behave as your natural body, possibly fluctuating in size depending on weight gain or loss
- Recovery may be longer and more difficult
- Risk of blood supply issues
- Risk of muscle weakness where the new breast tissue came from
- Additional scarring where the replacement tissue came from
- May require additional revisionary surgeries
- Possible differences in size and shape of both breasts
- Possibility of postoperative pain or infection
- Breasts may sag, as natural breasts would, as you age
Because healthy blood vessels are needed for the tissue's blood supply, autologous procedures are not usually recommended for women with diabetes, connective tissue or vascular disease, or those women who smoke. Talk to your doctor about these risk factors.