Using Living Tissue for Natural-Looking Results in Austin, TX
A gluteal artery perforator or GAP flap at Austin Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery is an advanced breast reconstruction technique, similar to the DIEP flap, in which your surgeon uses your own excess tissue—not an implant—to create your new breast without removing any underlying muscle or damaging your motor nerves. The result is a breast that looks and feels natural. Since the mound is made of healthy living tissue, it will not require any future implant replacement.
Your GAP Flap Experience
For the GAP flap technique, your surgeon removes a flap of skin and fat from either your upper buttock (in which case it is called a superior gluteal artery perforator or SGAP flap) or your lower buttock (an inferior gluteal artery perforator or IGAP flap). Although there may be some flattening of the buttock where the flap is removed, the change is typically slight. If needed, liposuction can be used on the intact buttock to contour and improve symmetry. All of these options will be discussed with you in detail during your initial consultation.
A GAP flap breast reconstruction is an appropriate option for patients without enough abdominal skin and fat for a DIEP flap or who have already had liposuction or a tummy tuck.
Once the flap has been removed from your buttock, it is then carefully shaped to replace the removed breast tissue, and transferred to your chest. The blood vessels in the tissue are connected to vital corresponding vessels in the chest wall or under the arm. Because the vessels are remarkably small and must be severed, then connected anew under a microscope, it is important that patients choose a surgeon who has advanced skills, significant experience, and training in microsurgery.
The GAP flap technique requires more initial operating time than an implant reconstruction, but the reconstruction is complete in one surgery.
Austin Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery
- Known for natural-looking aesthetic results in breast reconstruction and cosmetic surgery.
- Elected by peers for inclusion in Texas Monthly's Texas Super Doctors®: Rising Stars listing.
- Reconstructed over 6,000 patients, including more than 2,500 DIEP flap reconstructions.
- 4.9-star average rating over hundreds of reviews for reconstructive and cosmetic surgery.
A Personal Touch is Important
Being as informed as possible about GAP flap surgery is an important factor in a successful procedure, but women choosing Austin Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery certainly do not have to be experts in the details of this or any other procedure prior to their initial visit. Our surgeons emphasize ongoing patient education, from presenting basic information online for the general public to answering unique questions during the initial consultation and making themselves available for reassurance and guidance throughout every step of the reconstructive process.
Your GAP Flap Experience
Your recovery will require three to four days of rest in the hospital, where the GAP flap can be monitored. Once home, most patients find that they are sore and low on energy in the weeks following their surgery but that they can return to gentle walking and driving two weeks after the procedure. Strenuous activity and heavy lifting should be avoided for at least six weeks.
Download Our Breast Reconstruction Post-Operative Care Guides
We've compiled detailed post-operative care instructions to best equip our breast reconstruction patients throughout their recovery process. To ensure the best and safest recovery, your plan encompasses appropriate prescriptions and clear directions towards maintaining your comfort to get you back to normal life and activity as soon as possible. Individual patients respond uniquely, and the type of procedure may differ, but these basic guidelines will help you along your journey.
Women who want nipple reconstruction to touch up the look of the breast may have this done during their breast reconstruction surgery, or they can wait to have it done during a second surgery three months later, for touching up the look of the breast. Austin Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery makes the option available for women who would like a three-dimensional tattoo colored and textured to resemble a natural areola and nipple.
No matter the details, the ultimate goal is a breast that looks, feels, and moves like it should.