The so-called flap procedures are also known as autologous reconstruction. That means they use tissue from other parts of the patient's own body, such as the abdomen, back, or buttocks. Tissue (skin, fat and muscle) from one of those areas is moved to the chest to reconstruct a breast. It can form the breast mound itself, or it can form a pocket for an implant.
In a traditional flap procedure, the tissue is moved but remains attached to its original site, retaining its blood supply. In a "free flap" procedure, the tissue is completely removed from the original site and transplanted to the chest. Microsurgery is needed to reconnect the tiny blood vessels in the tissue to new ones in the chest area.
The various types of flap procedures include:
- TRAM (Transverse Rectus Abdominis Myocutaneous) Flap
- Latissimus Dorsi Flap
- DIEP (Deep Inferior Epigastric Perforator) Flap
- SIEA (Superficial Inferior Epigastric Artery) Flap
- Other procedures