Breast Implants or Autologous Tissue Flaps

Whether enlarging or reconstructing breasts, patients must decide between using breast implants or tissue from another part of their body, know as autologous tissue flaps. There are pros and cons associated with each option. Emory breast surgeons are experts in guiding women, based on their individual needs.

Autologous Tissue Flaps

Tissue from the patient’s abdomen, buttocks or thigh region are harvested to form breasts. Deep Inferior Epigastric Artery Perforator (DIEP) Flap, Latissimus Dorsi Myocutaneous Flap and Transverse Rectus Abdominus Myocutaneous (TRAM) Flap are consider Autologous Tissue Flap technique options. Breast surgery with autologous tissue flaps is a lengthy operation and success greatly depends on the surgeon’s experience. DIEP Flap is the most innovative surgery. Emory Plastic Breast Surgeons prefer DIEP Flap because the procedure preserves muscle function and strength.

Autologous Tissue Flaps:

  • Have a more natural feel and shape
  • Are less likely to be rejected by the body
  • Do not require annual surveillance of the breast implant
  • Require a longer recovery period than breast implants

Breast Implants

Breast implants are particularly popular with women who wish to enlarge their breasts. There is no donor tissue site scar. Some complications unique to breast implants include capsular contracture, which can cause implant rupture, malposition, asymmetry and pain.

 Breast Implants work best for women who:

  • Do not have enough body tissue to make the desired breast size
  • Wish to avoid a donor tissue site scar
  • Have a complicated medical condition that limits their ability to safely complete a four to six hour general anesthetic
  • Would like a shorter recovery period