Breast reconstructive surgery using your own tissue
December 01, 2012
Mastectomy, the removal of all or part of the breast, can be necessary in the
treatment of cancer. After mastectomy, many women choose reconstructive surgery to
restore the contour of the breast. While reconstruction can be achieved
using prosthetic silicone or saline implants, some women prefer a more natural
Today, breast surgeons at UC Irvine Medical Center can offer mastectomy patients a
state-of-the-art surgical procedure which results in a softer breast created from
their own body tissues.
Called a microvascular muscle sparing TRAM or Deep Inferior Epigastric flap (DIEP),
the procedure involves taking a portion of skin, fat, with or without a small portion
of muscle from the patient’s lower abdomen and using it to reconstruct the breast.
As a side benefit, the patient receives a “tummy tuck.” Alternatively,
tissue can be taken from the buttocks. To ensure sufficient circulation in the new
breast, blood vessels are moved from the lower abdomen and connected to vessels in
the armpit using microsurgical techniques.
A breast reconstructed with these procedures is more similar to the natural
breast in softness, and in the way it drapes on the chest. Because the tissue
is part of the patient's body, it does not pose the risks that can occur with
synthetic implants, such as foreign-substance reactions or capsulation (breast
hardening). According to UC Irvine Medical Center breast surgeons, patients
receiving the new flap procedures report positive outcomes, both physically