What is involved in the LAP procedure?
If you are looking for a soft, natural feeling breast reconstruction and the DIEP (tummy) flap is not suitable, the LAP flap may be the ideal choice for you. The LAP flap uses tissue from the region just above the buttock, commonly known of as the “love handle”. Most women, even those with a slim physique have this extra fat and this procedure remains an excellent option in most cases. Mr Ghattaura will carefully examine your lower back in clinic to make sure you are suitable for this procedure.
The love-handle block of tissue is detached from your lower back with the deeper blood vessels, before being transferred to your mastectomy site and then reconnected to new blood vessels in your chest. This technique involves complex microsurgery and takes about 5 - 8 hours to perform with a 3-5 day stay in hospital. Since your back muscles are neither divided nor removed from your lower back, the pain after surgery is minimised. After surgery, you will have incisions on your breast and one side of your lower back. The breast incision may contain a patch of visible skin transferred from the back, so that Mr Ghattaura can check that the flap is working well in the days after surgery.
Because the tissue used for the lumbar artery perforator flap breast reconstruction is similar to that removed during a cosmetic buttock lift, women who undergo this procedure generally achieve an improvement in the contour of their waistline and experience a degree of buttock lift. When just one breast is reconstructed using a LAP flap, tissue can be removed from the opposite side of the body by liposuction, or skin removal to produce symmetric contours of the waistline and buttock. The scars that result from this type of surgery can typically be concealed in most clothing.
As with the DIEP flap, the LAP flap is a life-long reconstruction, ageing naturally with you, changing size and shape with your normal weight fluctuations though life.
Available at Spire Cardiff Hospital.