The photographs included on this page are the results of reconstructive procedures performed by the surgeons at the Center for Restorative Breast Surgery.
Pioneered at the Center for Restorative Breast Surgery, body lift perforator flap reconstruction basically combines DIEP flap reconstruction, which uses tissue from the belly or lower abdomen, with SGAP/hip flap reconstruction, which uses tissue from the upper buttocks. Although not yet widely available, the body lift can be an option for thin women with medium-to-large breasts who want bilateral reconstruction with flaps (as opposed to implants) but don’t have enough tissue in the belly or upper buttocks/hips to recreate the breasts at the desired size. It also can be used for women who want to replace breast implants with tissue flaps.
Body lift perforator flap reconstruction uses a flap of tissue from both sides of the lower abdomen (DIEP) and the upper buttocks (SGAP, or hip flap) to reconstruct the breasts — two flaps per breast, or four flaps in all. DIEP stands for the deep inferior epigastric perforator artery, which runs through the abdomen. SGAP stands for superior gluteal artery perforator. Two plastic surgeons would work together to “harvest” the two DIEP flaps and SGAP flaps. Then they would “stack” the DIEP flap on top of the GAP flap in each breast and use microsurgery to carefully attach the blood vessels in each flap to the vessels in the chest area.
The name “body lift” refers to the fact that, in addition to new breasts, you’d get the results of a tummy tuck from the removal of tissue flaps from the lower abdomen (DIEP) and a butt lift from the SGAP flap removal. The surgery involves an incision along the lower abdomen, or tummy tuck line, that extends around to the hips. The end result is often an improved body contour: less extra tissue in the belly area and on the hips.
Body lift perforator flap surgery is a newer approach to flap surgery that requires special surgical training along with expertise in microsurgery. Few surgeons offer it, so it may be difficult to access it in your area. You may have to do some research to find an experienced surgeon and perhaps travel out of town to access it. Your doctor may be able to refer you to plastic surgeons who can offer body lift perforator flap reconstruction. You can also visit Finding a Qualified Plastic Surgeon for more information.
Body lift perforator flap reconstruction may not be a good choice for:
- Women who already have had certain abdominal surgeries, including colostomy (surgery to attach the large intestine to an opening in the abdominal wall) or abdominoplasty (tummy tuck). This does not include midline incisions extending from the belly button to the pubic region or other routine abdominal operations. If you have had a C-section, hysterectomy, gall bladder surgery, appendectomy, or tubal ligation, you may still be a candidate for body lift perforator flap reconstruction.
- Women whose abdominal blood vessels are small or not in the best location to undergo the DIEP flaps that are part of this surgery. (A new approach called the APEX FlapCM may be useful in this situation, but availability is very limited.)
Learn more about body lift perforator flap reconstruction on these pages:
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