Free Flap Breast Reconstruction


Free Flap Breast Reconstruction RESULTS

What is Free Flap Breast Reconstruction?

Free flap breast reconstruction, also known as autologous tissue reconstruction, is a surgical technique used to reconstruct the breast mound using a patient’s own tissue. It involves the transfer of tissue from one part of the body, typically the abdomen, buttocks, or back, to the chest to create a new breast.
In free flap breast reconstruction, the tissue is completely detached from its original blood supply and reattached to blood vessels in the chest using microsurgical techniques. This allows the transferred tissue to establish a new blood supply and survive in its new location.
The most common types of free flaps used for breast reconstruction include the deep inferior epigastric perforator (DIEP) flap, the transverse rectus abdominis myocutaneous (TRAM) flap, and the gluteal free flap (also known as the SGAP or IGAP flap).
Free flap breast reconstruction offers several advantages. Since the tissue used is the patient’s own, it provides a natural and long-lasting result. The transferred tissue can be shaped and contoured to match the opposite breast for improved symmetry. Additionally, free flap reconstruction can provide a soft and natural feel to the reconstructed breast.
However, free flap breast reconstruction is a complex procedure that requires specialized training and expertise in microsurgery. It generally has a longer operative time and recovery period compared to implant-based reconstruction. It is important to discuss the benefits, risks, and considerations of free flap breast reconstruction with Dr. Fadi Chahin, a qualified plastic surgeon and microvascular surgeon, to determine the most suitable option based on individual factors and preferences

What is the process?

Tissue is taken from another part of the body (donor site) and transferred to the chest, where microsurgery connects the blood vessels. Dr. Chahin shapes the transferred tissue to create a new breast mound, achieving a natural appearance and symmetry. It is a specialized procedure requiring the expertise of a skilled plastic surgeon, like Dr. Chahin, to provide optimal results.

Benefits of Free Flap Breast Reconstruction

Natural and Soft Tissue

Free flap reconstruction uses the patient’s own tissue, resulting in a breast that looks and feels more natural compared to implants. The transferred tissue provides a softer and more realistic texture and appearance.

Improved Symmetry

The transferred tissue can be shaped and contoured to closely match the size, shape, and projection of the opposite breast, leading to improved symmetry and balance.

Long-lasting Results

Since free flap reconstruction uses the patient’s own tissue, the results are typically long-lasting. The transferred tissue has the potential to age and change with the body, providing a more consistent and natural appearance over time.

Reduced Risk of Implant-related Complications

Free flap reconstruction eliminates the need for breast implants, reducing the risk of complications associated with implants, such as capsular contracture, implant rupture, and implant-related infections. Patients can choose to place an implant at a later stage should they wish to achieve added volume however it is not a necessity.

Potential for Multiple Donor Sites

Free flap reconstruction offers flexibility in donor site selection. Depending on the patient’s anatomy and individual circumstances, tissue can be harvested from various areas, including the abdomen (DIEP or TRAM flap), buttocks (gluteal flap), or back (latissimus dorsi flap).

Improved Body Contouring

Tissue harvested from donor sites can provide additional benefits by contouring and shaping the donor area, leading to an overall improvement in body contour.

Psychological and Emotional Well-being

Free flap breast reconstruction can have a positive impact on a person’s psychological and emotional well-being. It can help restore self-confidence, body image, and a sense of femininity and wholeness after breast cancer treatment.
Procedure Timeline

The first step is an initial consultation with Dr. Chahin who specializes in free flap breast reconstruction. During this appointment, Dr. Chahin will evaluate your medical history, assess your breast anatomy as well as the donor site, discuss your goals and expectations, and recommend the most suitable reconstruction options for you.


If you decide to proceed with free flap breast reconstruction, pre-operative preparations will be necessary. This may involve additional medical tests, obtaining medical clearance if required, and discussions about the timing of the procedure.


Once the decision is made to proceed with free flap reconstruction, further planning is done to assess the suitability of the donor site, such as the abdomen, buttocks, or back. Detailed imaging and measurements are taken to plan the surgery and ensure optimal outcomes.


The surgical procedure for free flap breast reconstruction typically takes the entire day. It involves harvesting the donor tissue, usually with microsurgical techniques, and transferring it to the chest to create a new breast mound. The surgery may also involve shaping and contouring the transferred tissue to achieve the desired appearance and symmetry.


Following free flap breast reconstruction, you will be monitored closely during the initial recovery period. You will need to stay in the hospital for a few days, depending on the complexity of the procedure and your individual needs. Dr. Chahin will provide detailed post-operative instructions to facilitate a smooth recovery.

Regular follow-up appointments will be scheduled to monitor your healing progress, remove sutures or drains if necessary, and address any concerns or questions you may have. These appointments are crucial for ensuring the best possible outcomes and making any adjustments or revisions if needed.

Why Should You Choose Dr. Chahin for Free Flap Breast Reconstruction

Choosing the right surgeon for your free flap breast reconstruction is a crucial decision. We believe that we offer the expertise, personalized care, and commitment to patient satisfaction that you deserve. We would be honored to be a part of your breast reconstruction journey and help you achieve your desired results.


Am I a candidate for free flap breast reconstruction?
Free flap breast reconstruction is typically suitable for individuals who have undergone a mastectomy or have insufficient breast tissue for other reconstruction options. It is also a suitable option for patients whom have failed prosthetic reconstruction or whom have a previous history of radiation. It is important to consult with Dr. Chahin, who specializes in breast reconstruction, to determine your eligibility and discuss the best reconstruction options for your specific situation.
What is the recovery like after free flap breast reconstruction?
The recovery period can vary depending on the individual and the complexity of the procedure. Generally, you can expect to spend several days in the hospital for initial monitoring and post-operative care. You will need to follow Dr. Chahin’s instructions regarding wound care, pain management, and restrictions on physical activities. Full recovery may take several weeks to months, with gradual improvement in strength, mobility, and overall healing.