GAP Flap Breast Reconstruction - Does It Also Give You a Butt Lift?

Since GAP flap breast reconstruction surgery moves fat and skin from your buttock area to your chest, would it have the same effect as a butt lift surgery?

Doctor Answers 5

SGAP and butt lifts

SGAP flaps can be an effective way to reconstruct breasts. The challenges (in addition to the typical challenges of performing microsurgery) are typically having enough tissue for an adequate reconstruction.

In my practice a second operation may be performed to perform a buttock lift on the non-operated side to achieve symmetry.

I hope this helps.

Steven Williams, MD

San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 49 reviews

Advanced Breast Reconstruction with the S-GAP Buttock Tissue: Question about Buttock Lift

Breast Reconstruction is an important part of breast cancer recovery. Congress has mandated that insurance carriers cover the cost of breast reconstruction for breast cancer survivors. There are many options for breast reconstruction, including breast implants and your own body's tissue. Using tissue from another part of the body is advantageous as it will not be rejected by your body after surgery. This type of breast reconstruction is called 'autologous breast reconstruction.'

The most popular breast reconstruction using your own tissue are the following:

  • TRAM flap (using your abdominal tissue)
  • Latissimus flap (using your back tissue)

Less popular options include the gluteal flaps that include the S-GAP and I-GAP flaps. However, these are not methods of buttock lifts. If a patient requires breast reconstruction, an experienced surgeon would discuss options based on the projected success rate of the tissue transfer rather than the cosmetic benefits to the buttocks.

Likewise, if a single breast needs to be reconstructed, only one buttock would be operated on and the opposite side preserved in case additional tissue may be needed in the future (example, breast cancer of the opposite breast).

Raffy Karamanoukian, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 94 reviews

GAP FLAP for Breast Reconstruction

A Gap flap refers to a gluteal artery perforator flap for breast reconstruction. This can either be an I-GAP or an S-GAP glap( inferiorly based or superiorly based) The superiorly based flap(S-GAP) will take tissue from the upper slightly more lateral buttock region as almost a grapefruit wedge with its underlying blood supply and supply a new breast mound for the chest. This will give a small buttock lift to one side of the buttock. The inferiorly based flap( I-GAP) will take tissue from the buttock crease. This will only lift the inferior thigh region.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Buttock Lift with Breast Reconstruction- it is possible

The SGAP flap utilizes tissue from the upper buttock and tends to make the upper buttock more concave than before surgery. The IGAP flap takes tissue from the lower buttock and tends to flatten the buttock. 

If you are interested in a technique of natural-tissue breast reconstruction that will raise and lift the buttock, a Lumbar Artery Perforator flap (LAP flap) may be of interest to you. This flap uses tissue from the love-handle area for breast reconstruction; this is some of the same tissue that is removed during a lower body lift or buttock lift procedure.

The following information is an excerpt from information about LAP flaps on my practice website.

Using tissue from the region just above the buttock to reconstruct the breasts can be an excellent option when personal preference, the shape of one’s body or a history of prior surgery make this area a more appealing donor site. Using Lumbar Artery Perforator (LAP) flaps, it is possible to reconstruct a woman’s breasts with soft tissue harvested from the lower back and hip-- “love-handle” -- areas. Since excess skin and fatty tissue are removed along the waistline, similar to that which is removed during cosmetic buttock-lift surgery, the buttocks end up in a higher position with these procedures. The scar that results from harvest of a LAP flap can generally be well concealed along the waistline where the buttock and lower back meet making this an appealing option for many women. 

Buttock free flaps are not first line reconstruction options

The gluteal free flap reconstructions are not for most patients and do not "lift" the buttock. Rather, they flatten it and create an asymmetry to the other side. Their use should only be in patients who have no excess abdominal tissue, no available latissimus flap, and have been radiated so an implant won't work. Thus, their use is rare and more for salvage situations.

Richard P. Rand, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 67 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.