“After mastectomy, a woman can undergo reconstructive surgery using breast implants or using her own tissue.
“Implants remain a viable option, but they are not free of risk. Women with implants may experience shell rupture, infection and/or visible rippling over time. Also, implants have an average lifespan of just 10 years. Thus, some women, particularly younger patients, simply aren’t comfortable using implants. Other women have previously undergone radiation therapy, leaving their skin unsuitable for an implant- based reconstruction.
“In such cases, using a woman’s own tissue for reconstructive surgery may be the best choice. In the past, this type of surgery required use of large muscle tissue – typically an abdominal muscle with skin attached to it. With free-flap reconstruction, we are often able to perform reconstruction without using muscle tissue. Instead, we harvest skin and fat from a patient’s belly, buttock or thigh.
“Free-flap reconstruction, offered through the Jefferson Breast Care Center, is typically a more complex surgery than implant-based reconstruction. However, for many women, this option produces a very natural, comfortable and long-lasting result.”
Jefferson Surgical Solutions: Vol. 8
, Article 2.
Available at: http://jdc.jefferson.edu/jss/vol8/iss2/2