As an alternative to implant-based breast reconstruction, your reconstructed breast can be created using tissue and muscle from your own body for final results that look and feel very natural.
Dr. Ricardo A. Meade is breast cancer surgeon serving the entire Dallas-Ft. Worth metro area, with offices in Dallas and Plano, Texas. In addition to a number of options for reconstructive breast surgery, Dr. Meade is a board certified plastic surgeon who offers a full range of cosmetic surgery procedures for both men and women.
Tissue-based reconstruction is an incredibly complex procedure that requires a skillful and knowledgeable approach of advanced microsurgery techniques for the best results. Instead of using saline or silicone breast implants as the foundation for your restored breast shape, flap reconstruction utilizes your own soft tissues, relocating them from the donor location to the breast area where Dr. Meade reshapes the breast mound.
Please contact us online or call 214.823.1691 for more information on tissue-based breast reconstruction at our Dallas or Plano plastic surgery offices. We encourage you to view breast reconstruction photos in our real patient before and after photo gallery to get a better sense of what this procedure can achieve.
Scheduling a consultation is the first step in breast reconstruction. During this time with Dr. Meade, you can talk about your hopes for the procedure, and Dr. Meade can perform a physical evaluation in order to determine your candidacy for breast reconstruction, and make sure that tissue-based reconstruction will meet your cosmetic goals. You’ll also be given detailed information about what to expect during your surgery and recovery.
U.S. law dictates that reconstructive breast surgery must be covered by any insurance provider that also covers mastectomy and lumpectomy. This mandate is applicable to surgery for the affected breast as well as any additional procedures that Dr. Meade recommends to ensure symmetry between breasts. Our staff can help you gather any necessary paperwork for your insurance provider, and will give you a detailed cost estimate for your breast reconstruction.
Preparing for Surgery
Dr. Meade may request certain lab tests as your surgery date gets closer, along with medical evaluations, including a mammogram. He could also recommend making adjustments to current medications you may be taking. For your health and optimum recovery, you should avoid the consumption of alcohol and drugs before and after your breast reconstruction, and abstain from smoking.
The Flap Reconstruction Procedure
There are several factors that Dr. Meade takes into consideration in order to determine the best approach for your flap-based breast reconstruction, including your personal preferences, natural anatomy and whether immediate or delayed reconstruction is being performed.
For tissue-based reconstruction, Dr. Meade offers two options:
- TRAM Flap Surgery: During the TRAM (Transverse Rectus Abdominal Muscle) flap procedure, Dr. Meade takes tissue from the abdomen to reconstruct the breast. Sometimes referred to as a “tummy tuck” reconstruction, many patients may notice a flatter belly after reconstruction in addition to their new breast shape. In most patients, the TRAM flap provides sufficient soft tissue to recreate the entire breast mound.
- DIEP Flap Surgery: Although similar to the TRAM flap, DIEP (Deep Inferior Epigastric Perforator) flap surgery uses abdominal skin and tissue rather than muscle for the breast reconstruction process. Although DIEP flap surgery is longer and more technical, the muscle-sparing approach minimizes weakening of the abdominal wall and can mean better blood flow to the transplanted tissue.
Dr. Meade will go into more details about the pros and cons to each flap-based reconstruction technique and help you make the choice that’s best for your overall health, while also meeting your cosmetic goals for reconstruction.
Recovery & Results
Recovery after TRAM or DIEP flap surgery reconstruction is different for every woman, but typically requires a hospital stay of a few days, followed by a week or two of allowing your body to rest and heal. You’ll notice some soreness through your abdomen where the donor tissue was taken, and possibly in the reconstructed breast as well. It’s important to follow all of Dr. Meade’s post-operative instructions throughout the recovery process.
Tissue-based breast reconstruction should give you a final result that has the same look and feel as your natural breast, and that you can expect to be long-lasting. Many women say that completing breast reconstruction helps them feel physically and emotionally whole again following a breast cancer diagnosis.