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GAP Flap

Breast Reconstruction

A GAP Flap, or Gluteal Artery Perforator Flap, is a great reconstruction option for women with insufficient abdominal fat for a DIEP Flap. This procedure utilizes excess fat and skin from the gluteal region (buttocks). No muscle is harvested, leaving patients with less recovery time and preserved function of the donor area. Even in thin patients, this procedure allows for the reconstruction of full and rounded breasts. 

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Procedure

Like most reconstructions, this procedure can be performed as an immediate or delayed reconstruction. Patients are placed under general anesthesia or IV sedation during the surgery. 

During a GAP Flap, excess fat and skin is harvested from either a patient’s upper or lower buttock region or both (bilateral GAP Flap). These are referred to as a Superior Gluteal Artery Perforator (sGAP) Flaps and Inferior Gluteal Artery Perforator Regardless (iGAP) Flaps, respectively. However, regardless of the donor site, the incisions can be easily hidden with most underwear and bathing suits. 

During the procedure, the surgeon removes a portion of skin and fat—along with the connecting blood vessels—from either the lower or upper gluteal region, and transfers it to the breast mound, in order to form a new breast using microsurgical techniques to minimize scarring. During this flap procedure, no muscle or nerves are removed from the buttocks, allowing for maintained function and sensation of the area.  Due to risk of complication, patients undergoing bilateral GAP Flap reconstruction typically have only one breast reconstructed at a time.

Recovery

After the procedure, patients see results immediately, and must remain in the hospital for 2-4 days. Many patients can begin to walk without assistance 3 or 4 days post-procedure, and can return to all necessary activity once they return home. 

Most patients have three to four surgical drains placed in their incision sites, depending on whether they had one or both breasts reconstructed. Patients often resume normal daily activity 4-6 weeks after their surgery. Soreness often subsides after a week, and surgical scars start fading after 3 months and continue to improve up to a year after the reconstruction. 

The GAP Flap Benefit

The benefit of the GAP Flap is that is uses a patient’s own tissue, allowing for the most natural looking and feeling results possible.

GAP Flap

     

Quality Patient Care

There are many types of breast reconstruction, and the only way to know which option is best suited for you is to consult with your surgeon. They will use your medical history and a physical examination to determine if you are a good candidate for a GAP Flap, and if not, they can help you find another reconstruction option that would be better for you. 

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