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Breast Reconstruction

Know Your Post-Mastectomy Options

Breast reconstruction is achieved through several plastic surgery techniques that attempt to restore a breast to near normal shape, appearance and size following mastectomy.

Breast reconstruction words to know


Pigmented skin surrounding the nipple.

Breast augmentation

Also known as augmentation mammaplasty; breast enlargement by surgery.

Breast lift

Also known as mastopexy; surgery to lift the breasts.

Breast reduction

Reduction of breast size and breast lift by surgery.

Capsular contracture

A complication of breast implant surgery which occurs when scar tissue that normally forms around the implant tightens and squeezes the implant and becomes firm.

DIEP flap

Deep Inferior Epigastric Perforator flap, which transfers skin and fat from the abdomen.

Donor site

An area of your body where the surgeon harvests skin, fat and muscle to reconstruct your breast – commonly located in less exposed areas of the body such as the back, abdomen or buttocks.

Fat grafting

A surgical technique that transfers fat obtained by liposuction to enhance breast reconstruction by adding volume under the skin.

Flap (autologous) techniques

Surgical techniques used to reposition your own skin, fat and muscle to reconstruct or cover your breast.

General anesthesia

Drugs and/or gases used during an operation to relieve pain and alter consciousness.


Blood pooling beneath the skin.

Intravenous sedation

Sedatives administered by injection into a vein to help you relax.

Latissimus dorsi flap

A surgical technique that uses muscle, fat and skin tunneled under the skin and tissue of a woman's back to the reconstructed breast and remains attached to its donor site, leaving blood supply intact.

Local anesthesia

A drug injected directly to the site of an incision during an operation to relieve pain.


The removal of the whole breast, typically to rid the body of cancer.

PAP flap

Profunda Artery Perforator flap, which transfers skin and fat from the upper thigh.

SGAP flap

Superior Gluteal Artery Perforator flap, which transfers skin and fat from the buttock.

SIEA flap

Superficial Inferior Epigastric Artery flap, which transfers skin and fat from the abdomen.

Tissue expansion

A surgical technique to stretch your own healthy tissue and create new skin to provide coverage for a breast implant.

TRAM flap

Transverse Rectus Abdominis Musculocutaneous flap, a surgical technique that uses muscle, fat and skin from your own abdomen to reconstruct the breast.

TUG flap

Transverse Upper Gracilis flap, which transfers skin, fat and muscle from the inner thigh.


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