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Stacked/"Hybrid" GAP Flap Reconstruction: What to Expect

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With a stacked GAP flap reconstruction, an incision is made along the top of each buttocks and an oval section of skin, fat, and blood vessels is removed from each side. The surgeon then takes the two flaps and moves them up to your chest area to create one breast shape. The tiny blood vessels that feed the tissue of your new breast are matched to blood vessels in your chest and carefully reattached under a microscope.

The stacked GAP flap procedure typically lasts 5-6 hours.

After stacked GAP reconstruction surgery: You'll be moved to the recovery room after surgery, where hospital staff members will monitor your heart rate, body temperature, and blood pressure. If you're in pain or feel nauseated from the anesthesia, tell someone so you can be given medication.

You'll then be admitted to a hospital room. You usually stay in the hospital for about 3-4 days.

It can take about 6 to 8 weeks to recover from stacked GAP reconstruction surgery. Your doctor may recommend that you wear a compression girdle for up to 8 weeks after surgery. Keep in mind that if you had immediate reconstruction, you’ve had surgery at three sites on your body (one side of your chest and your hips/upper buttocks), and you might feel worse than someone who had only a mastectomy. It will likely take you longer to recover. You'll also have to take care of three incisions: on your breast(s) and your upper buttocks, and you'll probably have drains in your reconstructed breast and in your buttock donor sites. You may need to have help taking care of the incision on your upper buttocks and it may be uncomfortable for you to sit down for a week or more after surgery. If you had axillary node dissection at the same time, you may have incisions and drains to take care of under your arms.

It's important to take the time you need to heal. Follow your doctor's advice on when to start walking, stretching exercises, and your normal activities. You usually have to avoid strenuous sports, sexual activity, and lifting anything heavy for about 6 weeks after stacked GAP reconstruction.

It sometimes takes as long as a year or more for your tissue to completely heal and for your scars to fade.


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