Who’s a Good Candidate for Implant vs. Own Tissue Breast Reconstruction?

There are two main approaches when it comes to breast reconstruction after mastectomies—namely implant based reconstruction and autologous tissue based reconstruction. There are many differences in each approach and some patients are better suited for one approach vs another.

Implant based reconstruction is a good option for many patients who are considering mastectomies, but optimal results are often achieved in patients who are non-obese, have smaller breast size with little sag, and are considering reconstructing both breasts.

Studies have also shown that there are specific groups of patients who may have better results with tissue based breast reconstruction. Patients who are obese (BMI > 30), who have many health comorbidities such as diabetes and hypertension, or who have had or will need radiation therapy all do well with tissue reconstruction. These same groups however are at increased risk for complications or failure with implant reconstruction. Autologous tissue based reconstruction offers a safer alternative for these patients.

The tissue based reconstruction approach to breast reconstruction can be considered by all patients interested in pursuing mastectomy including most patients with normal and lower BMIs. In a 2019 study from the Journal of ASPS, it was found that the obese population reported greater satisfaction after tissue based reconstruction than with implant based reconstruction (1). This finding is consistent with the conclusion of the 2017 study from the Journal of Clinical Oncology that found all patients, regardless of past medical history or body habitus, reported greater satisfaction with tissue based reconstruction over implants (2). While it is a good option for higher risk patients, autologous tissue based reconstruction can provide safe, successful and satisfying results for many women.

As a patient considering breast reconstruction, it’s important to discuss all available options with your surgeon to determine the best fit for you. At Breast Reconstruction Associates, our goal is to help you be a fully informed participant in your care and to feel comfortable moving forward with your reconstruction plan. Please reach out to us for your Fort Worth breast reconstruction needs. We also have locations in Oklahoma City, OK and Austin, TX.