Reconstruction using tissue from other areas of your body - after risk-reducing breast surgery
Breast reconstruction can be done using tissue from another part of the body apart from the back and tummy. The most common areas are the buttock or the inner thigh.
It may also be possible to take flaps from other areas where there is enough fat and a suitable blood supply.
Reconstruction using tissue taken from your buttock
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Sometimes a new breast is made using fat and skin taken from the buttock. This may be done when the tummy area can’t be used, perhaps due to scarring from previous operations or because there isn’t enough tummy tissue for reconstruction.
There are two different operations that use tissue from the buttock:
Free SGAP flap (superior gluteal artery perforator flap) – tissue is taken from the upper buttock area.
Free IGAP flap (inferior gluteal artery perforator flap) – tissue is taken from the lower buttock area.
Benefits and limitations of reconstruction using tissue from your buttock
Larger breasts can be made.
The reconstructed breasts look and feel natural.
There is no need for implants.
There is no weakness in the back or tummy afterwards.
You will have a round scar on each breast (if you have skin-sparing surgery) and a scar on your bottom. Having an SGAP flap leaves a diagonal scar on the upper buttock, which can usually be hidden by underwear with a high waistband. An IGAP scar may be hidden in the crease between the lower buttock and thigh.
One buttock may be slightly smaller than the other after the operation.
The reconstructed breasts will have little or no sensation.
This type of reconstruction involves complex surgery and a long operation (6–8 hours).
Reconstruction using tissue from your thigh
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This is a relatively new operation that uses tissue from the upper inner thigh, including some muscle. The tissue is removed and attached to the breast area using microsurgery.
It is called a free TUG flap because the upper gracilis muscle is used in the operation and the skin is taken transversely (from across your thigh rather than down). It involves complex surgery and a long operation (6–8 hours).
It may be suitable for women who are slim and have small breasts as there isn’t usually enough tissue on the thigh for larger breasts.
As well as a round scar on the new breast, there will also be quite a long scar on the thigh after the operation. However, this is usually well hidden because of its position.