After mastectomy, the breast can be reconstructed with implants or with the patient’s own tissue. When we reconstruct the breast with the patient’s own tissue, we use the term autologous breast reconstruction. Reconstruction with the patient’s own tissue is helpful in cases where radiation was required after mastectomy or in situations where implants became infected at any time after a reconstruction and further attempts at implant reconstruction were unsuccessful.
The tissue from the lower abdomen that is normally discarded in an abdominoplasty can be dissected and isolated on the deep inferior epigastric artery and vein. This composite flap can then be harvested and transferred to the chest where a microsurgical anastomosis is performed to provide adequate blood supply and venous outflow. The abdominal donor site is then closed in a similar fashion as an abdominoplasty. The photograph demonstrates before and after autolgous tissue reconstruction with a DIEP flap.