Whether a reconstruction is implant based or autologous tissue based, breast reconstruction is usually performed in stages. A second procedure—referred to as the "revision stage"—is designed to fine-tune the reconstructed breast(s) in order to improve the overall cosmetic appearance. This procedure is typically performed 3-4 months after the initial reconstruction as a day surgery (outpatient). For implant based reconstructions, this procedure usually involves exchange of the tissue expander for the permanent implant and possible fat grafting to improve the contour of the reconstruction. For autologous tissue breast reconstruction, this stage usually involves scar revisions, fat grafting, and shaping of the flap. If the reconstruction was done as a unilateral procedure (one-sided breast surgery), a matching procedure can be done during this phase to help create symmetry between the two breasts.
The exact details of the revision stage differ depending on the type of breast reconstruction the patient had initially. When fat grafting is done, fat is usually harvested from the abdomen, flanks, hips, or thighs.