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Using Flap Techniques to Perform Breast Reconstruction Surgery

Published on September 12, 2017

Breast reconstruction surgery using flap techniques is one of the best methods to use for breast restoration after a mastectomy. The most important benefit of this surgery is that it can restore the volume, shape, and projection of your breasts in a way that appears completely natural.

Types of Tissue Flap Techniques Used for Breast Reconstruction

During a flap restoration, a section (“flap”) of tissue is taken from another part of the patient’s own body and used to reconstruct the breasts. Donor regions for this tissue flap can include the abdomen and the back.

There are two main types of tissue flap techniques that we offer: the TRAM flap technique and the Latissimus Dorsi flap technique. The exact technique that will be used during your breast reconstruction will depend on the specifics of your case.


The TRAM flap, or Transverse Rectus Abdominus Myocutaneous flap, is used in a technique where the tissue is taken from the abdominal region of your body. This is a very common method of breast reconstruction, because in most women, the abdominal region has enough tissue to reconstruct the breast. The TRAM flap will be composed of skin, fatty tissue, and abdominal muscle tissue.

There are two options for TRAM flap reconstruction surgery: pedicle and free. With the pedicle technique, the flap remains connected to the region during the surgical procedure, preserving the blood supply to the flap. With the free technique, the flap is not connected to the region, and the blood vessels must be reconnected to restore blood supply.

The TRAM flap technique option has an added advantage: taking tissue from the abdomen means tightening the muscles in that region, thus giving you a slimmer appearance.

Latissimus Dorsi Flap

This type of flap is mostly used in cases where a breast implant is also placed during the reconstructive procedure. In this process, an oval-shaped flap consisting of skin, fatty tissue, and muscle tissue is transferred from the patient’s upper back and used to reconstruct the breasts.

While a breast implant can provide volume for the reconstructed region, the appearance may also need adjusting with the help of additional soft tissue, and this is where the LD flap procedure can help. This flap can create a more natural appearance for the shape of the breast.

The LD flap technique is only effective for patients who are aiming for small or medium-sized breasts, as there will not be enough tissue for reconstruction of larger breasts.

Find Out More About Your Options

If you want to feel more comfortable in your body after a mastectomy by restoring the contours of your breasts, breast reconstruction using the flap technique can be a safe and effective solution. You must always consult with your doctor before you make any decisions regarding surgery.

Dr. Morwood has over 20 years’ experience as a plastic surgeon, he is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, he is a member of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, and for years he has served as either the chief or vice chief of the Division of Plastic Surgery of Monterey.

For more information about Dr. Morwood or if you would like to schedule a consultation, please contact us here.

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