Myth 2: I Can’t Have Natural Breast Reconstruction Because I Don’t Have Enough Abdominal Tissue to Spare.
Women without excess abdominal tissue have been candidates for natural breast reconstruction for over two decades. Further innovations in the field of reconstructive surgery have provided many alternatives that yield similar results to the traditional DIEP procedure.
Deep Inferior Epigastric Perforator (DIEP) flap surgery, the most common type of natural breast reconstruction, rebuilds the breasts using fat and skin from the abdomen. This procedure has a high success rate and doesn’t have the risks associated with reconstruction that uses muscle (i.e., TRAM flap surgery).
So, what are the alternatives for women who don’t want to sacrifice muscle or have implants, but can’t use abdominal tissue? Fortunately, surgeons who specialize in microsurgical breast reconstruction can provide options beyond DIEP surgery.
Gluteal Artery Perforator (GAP) flap reconstruction uses the buttocks to reconstruct the breasts. This procedure can be done on most women, and the type of GAP surgery performed depends on individual choice and physical build.
GAP flaps can utilize two different areas of the buttock. SGAP flaps are taken from the upper buttock, utilizing the superior gluteal artery, while IGAP flaps use the lower buttock and the inferior gluteal artery. Similar to SGAP, Hip Flap reconstruction uses the fat and skin of the “love handles” (the areas above the buttocks on either side of the waist).
Profunda Artery Perforator (PAP) flap reconstruction uses the rear upper thigh directly under the buttock. Because this area provides less tissue than the abdomen or buttocks, these flaps tend to work well for women with smaller breasts.
For women who had a unilateral mastectomy, Stacked DIEP/GAP reconstruction could also be an option. These procedures involve combining two donor sites to reconstruct one breast. Combining the tissue from two flaps helps provide the amount of volume needed to match the remaining natural breast.
These additional options make it possible for practically every woman to receive natural breast reconstruction. The surgeons at The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction are here to help you make the choices that best fit your individual needs and preferences. We can answer any of your questions by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via chat on our website.