Breast shapes can be rebuilt by moving skin, fatty tissue and sometimes muscle from other areas of the body. The procedures are similar to those used for the TRAM flap and DIEP flap breast reconstructions. Each procedure is named according to the blood vessels that supply the tissue flap with blood.
Specific surgical skills and expertise are needed for these complex surgeries. Not all breast reconstruction surgeons can do all types of breast reconstruction surgeries.
Using tissue from the buttocks
A superior gluteal artery perforator (SGAP) flap breast reconstruction uses tissue from the upper part of the buttock. An inferior gluteal artery perforator (IGAP) flap breast reconstruction uses tissue from the lower part of the buttock.
After surgery, you will have an oval scar on the breast(s) and a scar across the buttock(s). The shape of the buttock(s) will also change. As the blood vessels in the buttocks are relatively short, sometimes a vein graft is needed. This will result in scar(s) on the lower leg(s).
Complications after breast reconstruction using tissue from the buttocks are more likely than after any of the other tissue flap breast reconstructions. Complications develop after as many as one in five gluteal flap breast reconstructions.
Using tissue from the hips
A Ruben’s or deep circumflex iliac artery (DCIA) flap breast reconstruction uses tissue from the ‘love handle’ area of the hip.
You will have an oval scar on the breast(s) and a scar on the hip(s). The shape of the hips will also change with this procedure.