The overall concept of autologous, or "own-tissue", reconstruction is transferring tissue from one area of the body to the site of the mastectomy. This tissue is then used to recreate a breast mound that appears as anatomically and aesthetically normal as possible. Using tissue from a woman’s own body can be an attractive option for a variety of reasons:
- The structure and consistency of the original breast may be more natural.
- For some women, the idea of a foreign object permanently in her body is bothersome, making her own tissue a more comfortable option.
- Some patients appreciate the removal of unwanted or excess tissues (such as from the abdomen) that will then be used to reconstruct the breast.
The disadvantage to autologous reconstruction is that a woman will have two healing sites. These procedures also typically require more of a hospital stay than the mastectomy alone (average three days for a DIEP reconstruction for example).
While donor sites may include the abdomen, the back, the buttock, or even the thigh, it is important to be evaluated by your plastic surgeon, determine what your body shape will accommodate, and review the pros and cons of each before deciding upon a reconstruction.