Different Types of Breast Reconstruction Surgery?

Medically reviewed by: Dr. Jay R. Anam

This guide will provide a complete overview of the three most types of breast reconstruction surgery, Types of implants, How surgery is done & also reasons to consider type of surgery.

So that you can make an informed decision about what is best for you.

types-of-breast-reconstruction-surgery

Each type of surgery has its own benefits and drawbacks, so be sure to discuss your options with your doctor before making a final decision.

What is breast reconstruction in cancer treatment?

Breast reconstruction is a type of surgery that rebuilding the breast mound after a mastectomy (removal of the breast).

It can be done at the same time as the mastectomy (“immediate reconstruction”) or later (“delayed reconstruction”)

The goal of breast reconstruction is to create a new breast shape that looks and feels as natural as possible. It may not be possible to achieve perfection, but the results should be close enough that you feel comfortable with your appearance.

There are many different types of reconstruction surgeries available today, so there is likely to be one that is a good fit for you.

 

The three most common types of reconstruction are:

implant-based reconstruction, flap reconstruction, and autologous tissue reconstruction.

1. Implant-based Reconstruction :

In this type of surgery, an implant is used to create the new breast mound.

The implant is usually a silicone gel-filled shell, but sometimes a saline (salt water) solution is used.

There are two main types of implants.

  • Textured implants –
    these have a rough surface that helps them stay in place
  • Smooth implants –
    these are less likely to cause rippling or wrinkling of the skin

Surgery Procedure : 

The surgeon will make an incision (cut) and create a pocket for the implant.

The pocket can be made under the chest muscle (submuscular) or over it (subglandular).

The choice of placement will depend on factors such as the size and shape of your chest, the amount of breast tissue remaining, and your individual anatomy.

After the implant is in place, the surgeon will close the incisions with stitches.

A surgical bra or ace wrap will be used to support the breasts during healing.

It may take several months for the implants to settle into their final position.

Reasons to Choose Implant-based Reconstruction

Implant-based reconstruction has a number of advantages over autologous tissue reconstruction, including

  • A shorter surgery time
  • A shorter recovery time
  • No need for multiple surgeries

However, implant-based reconstruction has a higher risk of capsular contracture and re-operation.

You should discuss the pros and cons of each type of reconstruction with your surgeon to decide which is right for you.

2. Autologous Tsue Reconstruction :

In this type of surgery, tissue is taken from another part of your body and used to create the new breast mound.

The most common types of autologous tissue are :

  • Latissimus Dorsi Muscle Flap –
    This uses muscle from the upper back
  • Transverse Rectus Abdominis Muscle Flap –
    This uses muscle and skin from the lower abdomen
  • Gluteal Free Flap –
    This uses skin and muscle from the buttocks

Surgery Procedure :

The surgeon will make an incision (cut) and create a pocket for the flap.

The flap is then tunneled under the skin to the chest and positioned over the implant or existing breast tissue.

The surgeon will then close the incisions with stitches.

A surgical bra or ace wrap will be used to support the breasts during healing.

It may take several months for the implants to settle into their final position

 

Reasons to choose Autologous Tissue Reconstruction

Autologous tissue reconstruction has a number of advantages over implant-based reconstruction, including

  • A lower risk of capsular contracture (hardening of the breast)
  • A lower risk of reoperation
  • No need for lifelong implant surveillance

However, autologous tissue reconstruction is a more complex surgery than implant-based reconstruction, and it often requires multiple surgeries.

It also has a longer recovery time. You should discuss the pros and cons of each type of reconstruction with your surgeon to decide which is right for you.

3. Flap Reconstruction :

In this type of surgery, tissue is taken from another part of your body and used to create the new breast mound.

The most common types of flaps are :

  • Latissimus Dorsi Myocutaneous (LDM) Flap – this uses skin and muscle from the upper back
  • Transverse Rectus Abdominis Myocutaneous (TRAM) Flap – this uses skin and muscle from the lower abdomen
  • Gluteal Free Flap – this uses skin and muscle from the buttocks

Surgery Procedure : 

The surgeon will make an incision (cut) and create a pocket for the flap.

The flap is then tunneled under the skin to the chest and positioned over the implant or existing breast tissue.

The surgeon will then close the incisions with stitches.

A surgical bra or ace wrap will be used to support the breasts during healing.

It may take several months for the implants to settle into their final position

Which type of surgery is right for me?

The type of surgery that is right for you will depend on a number of factors, including

  • The size and shape of your chest
  • The amount of breast tissue remaining
  • Your individual anatomy
  • Your preferences and goals

You should discuss all of these factors with your surgeon to decide which type of surgery is right for you.

Conclusion

There are a number of different types of breast reconstruction surgery, and the right type for you will depend on your individual anatomy and goals. You should discuss all of your options with your surgeon to decide which type of surgery is right for you.

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      About Author
      Dr. Jay Rashmi Anam

      Surgical Oncologists

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      Dr. Jay Anam is one of the best surgical oncologists & breast cancer specialist in Mumbai.

      Dr. Jay Anam has Completed his M.Ch. Surgical Oncology training from Tata Memorial Centre. He did his Fellowship in Breast Oncology from Centre Oscar Lambret, Lille, France.

      As a breast cancer specialist, he believes in world-class cancer care for all patients.

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