Heather Karu, M.D., a plastic surgeon at Sanford Health, talks about autologous tissue reconstruction for breast cancer surgery patients. Autologous tissue reconstruction is when a plastic surgeon uses muscle, tissue and skin from another part of the patient’s body to perform reconstruction surgery of the breast. Typically, the back or stomach tissue is used, as long as there are no scars on the skin that would prevent it. Patients may opt for this “flap” reconstruction if they do not wish to use a breast implant, or if they have had radiation on the chest area that prevents the skin from being stretched by a tissue expander. Plastic surgeons can often create up to a C or Dsize breast with stomach tissue. They also now have the ability to remove blood vessels from the portion of stomach tissue used and reattach it to blood vessels in the chest. This surgery allows patients to retain more stomach muscle and core strength than would normally remain following a traditional flap reconstruction surgery using stomach muscles.