Free Flap vs. Implant: Overview

What Is The Major Difference Between Free Flap vs. Implant Breast Reconstruction?

For many women, belly tissue or implants can be used to create the breast mound.  The two options are very different.  Abdominal based reconstruction is a larger up-front commitment of operating room time, inpatient stay, and restrictions, in exchange for minimal to no long term maintenance.  Implant based reconstruction is a shorter up-front commitment, in exchange for the very likely requirement for revisionary surgery on a long term basis. Read further for more information on Free Flap vs. Implant.

More Information

The dedicated abdominal tissue and implant based pages describe these two operations in detail.  This table describes some of the differences between Free Flap vs. Implant for breast mound creation.

  Free Flap Tissue Expander/Implant
Breast Mound Creation 1 surgery 2 surgeries
Surgery Time 6-8 hours 1st: 3-4 hours
2nd: 2-3 hours
Hospitalization 3-4 days 1st: Outpatient
2nd: Outpatient
Recovery 10 weeks 1st: 4 weeks
2nd: 4 weeks
Time to breast mound creation & no restrictions 10 weeks 6 months
Short term revision (within 12 months) Likely Likely
Long term revision (after 12 months) Unlikely Very Likely
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