There are several ways to reconstruct a breast following mastectomy. One option is to use tissue expanders and implants (saline or silicone) and the other option is to use ones own body tissue or what is often called autologous reconstruction. One of the most commonly used sites for autologous reconstruction is the lower abdomen.
The lower abdomen is often used to reconstruct one or both breast following a mastectomy. One of the benefits to autologous reconstruction is that the reconstructed breast often has similar shape and characteristics of the opposite breast.
When autologous tissue or flaps are used to reconstruct the breast the reconstruction tends to last the lifetime of the patient. The resultant scar on the abdomen can be placed low on the abdomen similar to an abdominoplasty.
Depending upon previous surgeries, different blood vessels may be used to deliver a vascular supply to the breast. Commonly used vessels are the internal mammary or the thoracodorsal vessels. Occasionally, supplemental venous outflow may be necessary to drain the flap. The alternate venous outflow can come from the external jugular veins or cephalic veins.
This is a left mastectomy and immediate reconstruction with an abdominal flap and right breast reduction mastopexy for symmetry.