Autologous reconstruction

Breast reconstruction using the body’s own tissue.

Ottawa patients who wish to reconstruct their breast(s) post-mastectomy without implants can opt for an autologous reconstruction. This method uses skin, fat, and sometimes muscle tissue from elsewhere on the body to reconstruct the breast(s). Areas such as the abdomen, the flanks, buttocks, or inner thighs can be sources of tissue for breast reconstruction. This transfer of tissue from one area of the body to another is called a flap. The transferred tissue is formed into the shape of a breast and stitched into place. In some cases, microsurgery breast reconstruction techniques may be employed to reduce tissue trauma and improve treatment outcomes.

Autologous reconstruction is popular because it is enduring, and uses the body’s own tissues without the need for implants. The harvested tissue can feel similar to breast tissue, making it a good substitute for the breast which has been removed.

The “flap” reconstruction may be performed in conjunction with mastectomy surgery (immediate reconstruction), after mastectomy and other cancer treatments (delayed reconstruction), or within a staged approach that combines both of these methods.

Autologous reconstruction requires longer surgical times and a more extensive healing period as there may be two to four different surgical sites on different areas on the body depending on the individual case. Often, more than one surgery is required to make adjustments to achieve optimal aesthetic outcomes.