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Pros and cons of different types of breast reconstruction

Reconstruction type Pros Cons

Breast implants

 

  • Less surgery and shorter recovery time compared with tissue flap breast reconstructions

 

  • Less natural look, feel  and movement than tissue flap breast reconstructions
  • Reconstructed breast sits higher on the chest than a natural breast
  • Does not move like a natural breast (e.g. when lying down)
  • Does not change in size with weight gain or loss
  • Does not ‘age’ with other areas of the body
  • Higher risk of  side effects and complications

LD flap

 

 

  • More natural look, feel  and movement compared with implants only
  • Some change in size with weight gain or loss
  • ‘Ages’ more naturally than implants only
    • Longer surgery and recovery time compared with implants
    • More than one scar
    • Not as much of a change in size with weight gain or loss, compared with TRAM or DIEP flap
    • May affect movement of muscles in the back and arm

    TRAM flap

     

     

    • TRAM and DIEP  have the most natural look and feel
    • Usually suitable for women with larger breasts
    • Changes in size with weight gain or loss
    • ‘Ages’ naturally with other areas of the body
      • Longer surgery and recovery time compared with implants
      • More than one scar
      • Possible weakness of abdominal muscles, with increased risk of hernia

      DIEP flap

       

       

      • TRAM and DIEP have the most natural look, feel  and movement
      • Usually suitable for women with larger breasts
      • ‘Ages’ naturally with other areas of the body
      • Less affect on the abdominal muscles compared with TRAM
        • Longer surgery and recovery time compared with implants
        • More complex surgery than TRAM
        • More than one scar

        Other tissue flaps

         

        • More natural look, feel  and movement than implants
        • ‘Ages’ naturally with other areas of the body

         

        • Longer surgery and recovery time compared with implants
        • More than one scar
        • Fewer breast reconstruction surgeons do these procedures