Having a mastectomy can be an emotional experience for women fighting breast cancer. Flap-based breast reconstruction allows women the option of improving the look and feel of their breasts after a mastectomy using their own skin, muscle and subcutaneous tissue rather than reconstructing the breasts with implants.
Known as one of the top female plastic surgeons in the greater Houston Area, Dr. Sugene Kim is a double board-certified plastic surgeon specializing in breast reconstruction. She is one of few MD Anderson fellowship-trained plastic surgeons in north Houston area. SGK Plastic Surgery has helped women from Spring, The Woodlands, Conroe, College Station as well as across the country love their bodies with a range of cosmetic, reconstructive and non-surgical procedures.
Contact us online or call our practice today at 281-363-4546 to schedule your flap-based breast reconstruction consultation at SGK Plastic Surgery, conveniently located in The Woodlands near Grand Central Park.
Who Should Consider Flap-Based Reconstruction?
Women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer and must have a mastectomy are faced with the decision of whether to reconstruct the affected breast(s). Many women feel that reconstructing their breast(s) allows them to move forward from their illness with a sense of wholeness.
Flap-based reconstruction and implant-based reconstruction are the two major types of restorative breast procedures for women who have had mastectomies. Flap-based reconstruction can create softer, more realistic breast contours and is usually better suited for women with naturally larger, curvier breasts.
Flap-Based Breast Reconstruction Techniques
There are three common approaches for flap-based breast reconstruction.
- The TRAM flap option, or transverse rectus abdominis myocutaneous, refers to the muscle located in the lower abdomen from which skin, fat and muscle can be used to reconstruct a new breast. This procedure uses excess skin and fat, in addition to the underlying abdominal wall muscle, which contains blood vessels that feed the overlying skin and fat. The tissue is tunneled under the skin up to the chest while keeping the blood supply intact.
- DIEP flap breast reconstruction refers to the deep inferior epigastric perforators, or the skin and fat from the lower abdomen. This approach is similar to the TRAM flap option, but does not use abdominal muscle, minimizing abdominal weakness and the risk of hernia formation. Fat and skin from the belly button region are relocated to the chest wall and connected to blood vessels in the chest.
- The LDMF, or latissimus dorsi myocutaneous flap, is another breast reconstruction procedure that uses your own skin, muscle, and fat. The latissimus dorsi muscle lies under the armpit and continues diagonally across the back. Because of its proximity to the chest, this is a popular muscle to use for breast reconstruction as it can remain attached to its original blood supply. This technique can be combined with implant-based reconstruction to add volume to the breast as needed.
During your initial consultation with Dr. Kim, she will explain the benefits and limitations of each flap-based reconstruction technique in more detail. She will also be able to provide you with an idea of the results you can expect. Dr. Kim will work closely with your oncologist and your radiation therapist to design a reconstructive plan that complements your cancer treatment.
Why Choose Dr. Kim for Your Flap-Based Breast Reconstruction
Dr. Kim is a board-certified plastic surgeon with extensive experience performing flap-based breast reconstruction. In addition to her skills as a reconstructive surgeon, she is very familiar with the factors that go into recovering from a breast cancer diagnosis, including radiation therapy, and can work with you to help you feel positive and comfortable about planning your breast reconstruction.
To learn more about flap-based breast reconstruction at SGK Plastic Surgery, contact us online or call our practice in The Woodlands at 281-363-4546 to schedule your consultation.