Autologous breast reconstruction

Autologous breast reconstruction, also known as autogenous reconstruction, forms a breast shape by using tissue from another location on the body. The tissue used, known as a ‘flap’, is typically fat or skin, and sometimes muscle. It is normally taken from the back (LD flap), belly (DIEP flap), inner thighs (TMG flap) or buttocks.

What is autologous breast reconstruction?

Autologous breast reconstruction is sometimes also known as autogenous reconstruction. It uses tissue known as a flap, taken from another location on the body, to form a breast shape. This tissue is usually skin or fat, but can also be from muscle. It is normally taken from areas such as the back (LD flap), belly (DIEP flap), inner thighs (TMG flap) or buttocks.

This tissue, used as a “free flap” can be removed entirely from its original blood vessels before it is moved to a new location in the chest. Alternatively, the tissue is moved under the skin to the chest, remaining attached to its blood vessels. This type of flap is known as a “pedicled flap”. Pedicled flaps is a type of surgical technique which has been performed for a longer period of time than free flaps. They are recognised as being easier to perform because the free flap process involves microsurgery in order to attach the vessels in the chest to the tissue flap itself and ensure that there is sufficient blood flow to the newly formed breast. Pedicled flaps are typically more widely available than free flaps.

Is autologous breast reconstruction surgery for me?

Autologous breast reconstruction offers the benefits of using personal tissue which ages naturally and changes minimally. Choosing the best location as a donor site is crucial to the decision-making process which precedes an autologous breast reconstruction. The Breastclinik provides an expert consultancy which includes examinations and discussions pertaining to the various surgical options available.

How is autologous breast reconstruction surgery performed?

Breast reconstruction involves the complete separation of the tissue from its original blood vessels before it is moved to a new location on the chest. This is typically known as a ‘free flap’. An alternative method keeps the original blood cells attached to the tissue and moves it under the skin to the chest. This is known as a ‘pedicled flap’. The tissue is then shaped and stitched into place.

Treatments can be undergone at the same time as mastectomy, at a later date after mastectomy, or as part of a staged approach which undertakes some of the reconstruction at the same time as a mastectomy, and leaves some of the reconstruction until a later date.

An anaesthetist will be on hand to discuss the chosen form of anaesthesia with the patient prior to entering the operating room. Patients will typically not eat or drink for a period of six hours before the operation.

Later surgery for the purpose of making adjustments is entirely normal in the case of autologous breast reconstruction. This is referred to as ‘finishing work’, and can involve nipple reconstruction, repositioning of an implant or removing the donor site’s extra fat. Some of these adjustments might not be seen as essential, and it is advised that the surgeon and patient talk through adjustment options together so that preferences can be determined.

What are the risks of autologous breast reconstruction surgery?

As with any form of surgery, autologous breast reconstruction poses potential risks. These can include bleeding, loss of breast sensation and the need for revision surgery.

Although there are low rates of complications which follow autologous breast reconstruction surgery, it should be noted that there is the involvement of two surgical sites – the breast area, and the ‘donor’ site which the tissue comes from. General surgical complications can also include delayed healing of wounds and scar sensitivity.

Autologous breast reconstruction surgery recovery time

It can take two weeks before normal daily activities can be resumed following autologous breast reconstruction. For some patients, full exercise is not possible for several months.

It should be remembered that while healing from autologous breast reconstruction surgery there will be at least two areas of the body which are healing concurrently – including the reconstructed breast and the donor tissue site. The presence of multiple surgical sites means extra care should be taken in recovery. This is augmented when women have additional incisions made due to an axillary node dissection or sentinel node biopsy performed at the same time.

How long will I need to wear a post-op bra?

The amount of time a post-op, soft supportive bra is worn for will vary from individual to individual. While some women will not wear a post-op bra, for others it is necessary for four to six weeks after surgery, especially in the case of wound healing complications.

When can I drive following autologous breast reconstruction?

Driving can be resumed when any drainage tubes have been taken out, and when you have come off any prescription pain medication which was being taken after the operation. Your arms should also have significantly regained their range of motion before getting back behind the wheel.

Why choose the Breastclinik?

Elena is an award-winning cosmetic surgeon who has gained international recognition for her work. She offers patients the advantages of an empathetic female consultant in several UK locations; including London, Bristol and Sussex. The Breastclinik is known for the cutting-edge techniques which it uses, as well as the unmatched level of aftercare which it provides.

Autologous breast reconstruction surgery cost

The total cost of the surgery will be confirmed after the first consultation.

The cost includes the hospital, surgeon and anaesthetic fees. It also covers all post-operative visits. The initial consultation fee will be invoiced separately. The prices apply only at the time of publication and are subject to changes without notification.

Surgery costs from £10,000 for a single breast and £15,000 for both breasts.
Initial consultation fee £150

Surgery details

Anaesthetic: General

Anaesthetic: General

Follow up: 1,4,12 weeks 6,12 months

Follow up: 1,4,12 weeks 6,12 months

Hospital stay: 3-5 days
Hospital stay: 3-5 days
Final result: 3-12 months

Final result: 3-12 months

Surgical time: 4-8 hours

Surgical time: 4-8 hours

Recovery time: 2-6 weeks

Recovery time: 2-6 weeks

What our patients say

  • What a skilled, talented, honest and kind surgeon! I had hoped for an improvement in the way my breasts looked but instead of an improvement, I got perfection! Any concern and query I have had, both pre- and post- surgery has been dealt with immediately and efficiently. My entire care has been phenomenal! Elena has a fantastic team that all work brilliantly together. I thank the lucky stars I landed in her hands!

    Patient at Ridgeway BMI Swindon
  • I can't recommend Elena enough. Elena was wonderful from the beginning completely understanding made me feel so comfortable she understood what it was I wanted to be done and why. Not long after my consultation, I had the surgery done a full tummy tuck, breast augmentation and some lipo and it was truly the best thing I have ever done. Elena has done an amazing job I only ever dreamed I could look like this after looking the way I did. Elena has been wonderful throughout the care before, during and after

    Patient at Queen Victoria Hospital
  • My first meeting with Miss Prousskaia was great. The process from start to finish was made simple & everything was arranged to suit me. If I had any concerns, worries or questions all I had to do was send an email to Miss Prousskaia & she would get back to me even if she was in surgery at the time. Miss Prousskaia has changed not only my body for the better but my life too & also my kids lives. Miss Prousskaia for me has made my dreams a reality. I will always be grateful for her work but also her care & understanding, she is a very talented & special lady.

    Patient at The Bristol Nuffield Hospital at Chesterfield
  • What a sweetie Elena is. She put me totally at ease during my consultation explaining everything in detail and discussed my expectations. The results are far better than I could have hoped for. I have a waist for the first time and I cannot stop smiling. It's given me so much confidence, I wish I'd done it sooner. Elena is a remarkable lady, who I cannot thank enough.

    Patient at The Mcindoe Centre
  • My daughter was born with a severe congenital deformity called tuberous breasts. Elena is so professional, warm and friendly. She took her time and explained exactly how she could correct her breasts. The surgery has been so successful, my daughter's breasts are absolutely perfect and natural looking. The scarring resulting from surgery is so minimal, smooth and neat, we are astounded and Elena is also so pleased. My daughter's personality has completely transformed. She is now so happy, vivacious and confident. I cannot praise or recommend Elena enough.

    Carer at BMI Bath Clinic
  • Elena has performed breast reconstruction on me following cancer. She is the most conscientious and skilled Dr I have met. She is direct and ensures you understand everything. Following her brilliant surgery, she is dedicated to your aftercare to the level I have never seen before. I cannot recommend her highly enough. She has made me feel me again.

    Patient at Queen Victoria Hospital
  • First, l would like to thank Elena, it was a pleasure to meet her she is so kind and understanding, After years of being so uncomfortable and having constant pain in my shoulders from having large breast. In October of this year, I had a breast reduction and uplift surgery. The difference it has made is amazing I didn’t realise it could make such a difference I now have more confidence in social situations which pre-surgery I would avoid. The pain in my shoulders has gone and I feel great. I would also like to empathise that there is no pain after surgery just a little discomfort. I would recommend Elena to anyone thinking of having surgery. She’s the best . Thank you once’s again.

    Patient at Bristol Spire
  • From start to to finish my experience has been first class. I have Poland Syndrome and wanted my chest reduced. Elena is a truly amazing surgeon, and has a great team. Elena is fantastic, so understanding and caring, she has a real passion for her work, always wanting the best for you. I can honestly say if you are looking for a top surgeon go meet her, you won’t be disappointed. I believe she has a remarkable talent and I was so lucky to find her.

    Male Patient Spire Bristol
  • Firstly, I would like to say that I would highly recommend Elena to anyone considering a breast augmentation. Elena was the second plastic surgeon I had a consultation with for a breast enlargement operation, recommended to me by a friend who had recently undergone surgery with her and from the moment I picked up the phone to book my first consultation with her the whole process was flawless. I had quite a difficult case with very little under boob but Elena managed to work her magic and gave me the size and look that I have always wanted even with this tricky starting point. I wish I had done this sooner, the difference is truly life changing

    Patient Bath BMI Hospital
  • Ever since I became a teenager and developed breasts, I have always considered a breast augmentation. I had researched the procedure, surgeons and practices for over 20 years but it wasn't until last year that I felt confident enough to go ahead. Elena was the first (and only) surgeon that I had a consultation with. I was blown away with her extensive experience & dedication to helping people.   I am now 2 months on from my procedure and the end results are unbelievable! I don't think I really prepared myself for how fantastic my boobs could look! I feel sexy, confident and I am just so ridiculous happy with my new breasts. I am now just awaiting summer to show them off!  

    Patient at Bristol Spire