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The UCLA Division of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery

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Additional Reconstruction Options

Other Options for Breast Reconstruction

  • Microsurgical Skills and Medical Center
    Given the microscopic nature of the free TRAM flap technique, the surgeon should be specially trained in this area or be experienced in microsurgery. In addition, the medical center performing these procedures should also have specialized nursing and postoperative care to allow for careful monitoring of the flaps.
  • Superior Gluteal Free Flap
    The superior gluteal free flap transplants tissue from the upper buttock region, based on the superior gluteal artery and vein. This area can usually provide enough tissue to recreate the breast, even in very slender woman. This flap is technically more difficult to perform, with a significantly higher complication rate than the free TRAM flap and should only be completed by very experienced microsurgeons specifically trained in the execution of this type of flap.
  • Latissimus Dorsi Myocutaneous Flap
    The latissirnus dorsi flap transplants tissue from the back. In a select number of patients, the back area has sufficient tissue (both skin and fat) to recreate the breast; however, in most patients, the use of this flap requires the use of an implant under the latissimus dorsi muscle to provide volume and projection.
  • Tensor Fascia Lata Free Flap.
    This flap harvests the lateral area of the upper thigh, commonly known as the "saddlebag area". The major disadvantage of this type of flap is the resulting scar which extends down the outer aspect of the thigh region, which is not easily hidden. Nevertheless, this is a good alternative for some select patients.
  • Nipple / Areola Reconstruction
    Once the breast mound has been reconstructed, the nipple can then be created. This is done using tissue that was transplanted during the reconstructive surgery as part of the breast mound creation. The color of the areola (areola = the pigmented circle around the nipple) can be added with a tattoo to complete the reconstructive process and to provide a very natural look. The nipple reconstruction is generally done approximately 2-3 months after the first breast reconstructive surgery and is an out-patient procedure. Learn more about permanent make-up/medical tattooing »
  • Mastopexy (breast lift).
    Oftentimes, the unaffected breast may need to be lifted in order to match the reconstructed breast. This can be done at the time of the initial reconstructive procedure, or at any stage thereafter.
  • Reduction or Augmentation Mammaplasty
    Occasionally, the unaffected breast may be larger or smaller than the reconstructed breast. In order to achieve symmetry, one may be reduced or augmented for a better match.
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