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Natural Tissue Breast Reconstruction for Thin People

By Dr. Constance M. Chen

Autologous tissue breast reconstruction creates soft, warm, and living breasts from a woman’s own body tissue, and many consider it to be the gold standard in breast reconstruction. Despite this, many thin women report that they have been told that their only option for breast reconstruction is implants because they do not have enough fat to undergo natural tissue breast reconstruction. Why are thin women being turned away? Even among specialists, many plastic surgeons are primarily familiar with the abdomen as a donor site for breast reconstruction—and many thin women have minimal abdominal fat. Breast reconstruction using abdominal flaps, such as the TRAM or DIEP flaps, transfer fat, skin, and blood vessels—and in the case of the TRAM flap, the rectus abdominis muscle, too—from the lower abdomen to the chest to build the new breast, and they are the most common options for autologous tissue breast reconstruction.

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Many of our patients have volunteered to speak with other women who may have questions about what it is like to go through restorative breast and body surgery. If you would like to speak with someone who has already gone through the process, please contact us and we will find a “buddy” for you.


The Bosom Buddies are available for emotional support, practical tips, sharing stories, and other types of real life help that can help other women feel more comfortable and safe in their journey.

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As one of the leading breast reconstruction specialists in the United States, Dr. Constance Chen has been featured in over 100 news and media publications and journals over her years in practice.

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