Autologous breast reconstruction involves the use of the patient’s own body tissue (skin and fat) to reconstruct the breasts. The lower abdominal tissue is often the most frequently used autologous tissue donor site. Patients can undergo either immediate reconstruction following mastectomy or delayed reconstruction following mastectomy.
When patients are not likely to need radiation following mastectomy, it is often better to perform an immediate reconstruction. During an immediate reconstruction, the plastic & reconstructive surgical team reconstructs the breasts during the same operation that the general surgeons remove the breast tissue.
Immediate reconstruction allows the original breast landmarks to be maintained in their original position without having the breast skin undergo scarring or contraction. In some cases, where patients are not sure if they want to proceed with autologous tissue reconstruction, then tissue expanders can be placed at the time of the mastectomy and the decision for autologous tissue reconstruction can be made later.