When considering breast reconstruction surgery, your most common options are either implant-based reconstruction or soft tissue-based reconstruction. Implant-based breast reconstruction is the most common and is often the most convenient when it comes to recovery and downtime. However, soft tissue reconstruction is a great alternative for someone with more time and isn’t concerned with a speedy recovery. There are many advantages to this technique, but the procedure and recovery time is much longer than an implant-based reconstruction. 

What is implant-based reconstruction versus soft-tissue based reconstruction?

Breast reconstruction restores the shape to your breast after a mastectomy, with options to either use implants or your own soft tissue. The implant-based surgical options allow the doctor to help you choose which size, shape and feel breast implant you prefer. With the feel of the breast, you’re given even more options to choose from, like gummy bear or silicone. Dr. Garza will be able to sit down with you to explain all of your options and help you choose which might be best for you. 

Unlike breast implants, soft tissue-based reconstruction uses your own skin and fat to create an implant. The fat or tissue normally comes from your inner thighs, back area or abdomen – giving you a tummy tuck or body contouring procedure at the same time! Dr. Garza can perform what’s called a DIEP Flap surgery if you are a candidate. DIEP Flap is a type of reconstructive surgery in which your blood vessels (called the deep inferior epigastric perforator), as well as the skin and fat connected to them, are removed from the lower abdomen area and transferred to the chest to allow reconstruction after a breast mastectomy. 

Which option might be best for you?

While the recovery period for implant-based reconstruction is typically around 6 weeks, soft tissue-based reconstruction can take up to eight weeks.  It is important to make sure you explore which option is best for you. Implant options may be easier and best if you need to get back to your regular activities and are going to be caring for yourself, or have young children in your home. 

Depending on your particular reconstruction and whether you are needing surgery of one or both breasts, you may be given surgical drains for one to two weeks after surgery. In order to heal properly, you’ll need to avoid heavy lifting, strenuous exercise, and sexual activity during your recovery period. Additionally, your doctor will advise you on anything that you can or can’t do, and will release you when you have healed completely. 

As a board certified plastic surgeon, some of Dr. Garza’s most inspiring cases have been with women who have undergone a mastectomy and wanted the chance to look and feel their best again. We’re here to help you make the most educated decision on your surgical journey. Contact us today to learn more about which options you have and what might be best for you.