For more than ten years microsurgical reconstruction has become the gold standard in breast restoration after cancer. Microsurgery takes advantage of using your own tissue, by using spare fat from your body instead of implants. Although a superior method to reconstruct after mastectomy, many plastic surgeons will not offer microsurgical reconstruction because they do not perform microsurgery or because they cannot perform it at the level that is needed to be successful with this type of surgery.
Breast reconstruction involves restoring the appearance of a breast after mastectomy. There are many different techniques, most of which are discussed in these pages. Function can't be restored by reconstruction - a reconstructed breast can't produce milk, for instance. But the appearance and feel of a breast can be closely approximated with microsurgical breast reconstruction.
Microsurgical reconstruction includes:
The Internet has been valuable in spreading the word to women about one form of microsurgery, the DIEP flap. Thanks to the Internet, many women that didn’t know all their reconstruction options learned about techniques that didn't result in loss of abdominal muscles and had successful permanent restoration. But, few resources are available on the World Wide Web regarding the SIEA flap and even less accurate information is online about the newest reconstruction, the TUG flap. The acronyms are probably new to you, and also somewhat confusing. But, in these pages they are explained to help you begin to understand the terminology - and the benefits of microsurgery.
Understanding and learning about these types of reconstruction is important to the discussion of recovery after mastectomy and should be considered when forming a plan of treatment. Every patient has a unique body, goals and diagnosis. The reconstruction plan needs to consider these and other factors, and is not the same for every woman. Microsurgical reconstruction may not be an option for you, but the only way to learn if you are a candidate is to read, research and see a qualified microsurgeon that can help you get fully informed.