After studying this article, the participant should be able to: 1. Understand the available donor sites for autologous breast reconstruction. 2. Describe the advantages and limitations of each donor site. 3. Provide a rational, algorithmic preoperative evaluation and approach for patients seeking autologous breast reconstruction. 4. Develop an effective postoperative monitoring system to minimize complications and maximize salvage of microvascular thromboses.
Breast reconstruction remains at the heart of the field of plastic and reconstructive surgery, and it is continuously evolving. Tremendous advances in breast implant technology and supplemental products, particularly acellular dermal matrices, have revolutionized breast reconstruction in the modern era. However, microvascular free flap breast reconstruction has also witnessed profound advancements with exceptionally high success rates, with the ability to provide the most durable and natural breast reconstruction. Although the pendulum oscillates between prosthesis-based reconstruction and autologous tissue, the present synopsis will focus on autologous free flap breast reconstruction from an historical perspective, recent advancements in microsurgery, and the future of autologous breast reconstruction.