What is BODY LIFT Flap® Breast Reconstruction?
Pioneered at the Center for Restorative Breast Surgery in 2012, the BODY LIFT Flap® breast reconstruction procedure provides a solution for rebuilding the breasts with natural living fat when a double mastectomy is performed in a thin woman. Similar to the Stacked FlapSM, the BODY LIFT Flap® breast reconstruction technique gives added size and projection to the new breasts when single donor site tissue is not enough. In women with less body fat, the layering or “stacking” of available donor tissue to rebuild the breasts after bilateral mastectomy can restore shape and size beyond that of ordinary flap procedures. A BODY LIFT Flap® incision design in the waist gives both a tummy tuck reshaping and a lift of the buttocks in the donor site. The added careful preservation of muscle structure and strength provide for overall long-term results that are groundbreaking.
The BODY LIFT Flap® is one of the most significant technical steps forward in the recent history of breast reconstruction. It allows for an unprecedented power to recreate new breasts for women facing mastectomy who otherwise might be denied living tissue breast reconstruction.
Other options for thin women, or those with inadequate tissue to restore breast size and shape after mastectomy are the Hybrid and SGAP breast reconstruction procedures.
The Center for Restorative Breast Surgery is the only facility in the world to offer this new advanced microsurgical technique.
When is BODY LIFT Flap® Breast Reconstruction Used?
BODY LIFT Flap® breast reconstruction is used to recreate a soft, living breast composed entirely of living fat. It is used when the tummy and other donor site tissues are too thin for an ordinary flap procedure. This ability to combine more than one area to donate fat produces a larger breast and allows the incision in the donor’s sites to be placed in cosmetically proper positions. In almost every case, the BODY LIFT Flap® procedure can be done on the same day as mastectomy; this is known as “immediate reconstruction.” It may also be performed as its own procedure post-mastectomy, which is known as “delayed reconstruction.” Almost ALL women are candidates for immediate reconstruction, so speaking with your team prior to mastectomy about reconstruction is important. Occasionally, a “bridging implant” reconstruction is used before the BODY LIFT Flap® breast reconstruction to allow women with more advanced disease to benefit from skin sparing or nipple sparing mastectomy.
The BODY LIFT Flap® procedure gives thin women a new option to fully restore the breast with a natural living tissue after a bilateral mastectomy.
What are the Benefits of the BODY LIFT Flap® Breast Reconstruction?
There are several benefits of the BODY LIFT Flap® breast reconstructive technique. The recreation of the breast with soft, warm, living fat is permanent and doesn’t require maintenance imaging or repeat surgeries. For women who have undergone a mastectomy in the past, the BODY LIFT Flap® procedure allows for the avoidance of tissue expanders.
An important benefit of the BODY LIFT Flap® breast reconstruction over the TRAM flap, Latissimus flap, or other outdated procedures, is that the muscle of the donor site is protected and core strength is preserved. This allows for the avoidance of placing artificial mesh into the abdomen, as well as preventing hernias and long-term abdominal weakness.
Incision design in the waist gives the side benefit of a tummy tuck, a narrowing of the trunk, and a buttocks lift as a compliment to the newly reconstructed breasts.Taking less fat from each site and layering it enhances breast volume and projection while preserving the feminine form.
What are the Risks Associated with the BODY LIFT Flap® Breast Reconstruction Procedure?
As with any surgery, the risks of surgery can be minimized by carefully following your pre-surgical instructions. If you have other medical problems or factors that increase your risk, we will work with you to educate you on proper preparation and arrange your clinical care regimen to maximize your safety and ensure a successful recovery.
What to Expect Throughout the BODY LIFT Flap® Breast Reconstruction Procedure
PRE-SURGERY OFFICE VISIT
In most cases, you will be seen in our office 1-2 days prior to your surgery. At that time, we will go over the planned procedure, review consents, answer any questions you may have, and apply any surgical planning markings as may be required.
The BODY LIFT Flap® Breast Reconstruction Operation
When you arrive at the hospital, you will be escorted to the preoperative holding area where you will change into a gown and be given foot coverings. The nurse or anesthesiologist will start an IV so that fluids and necessary medications may be given to you. Family members will be allowed to visit with you in the preoperative area once you are prepared for surgery.
After your surgery is complete, you will awaken in the recovery room under warm blankets with a dedicated nursing attendant at your side. You will be carefully monitored and kept comfortable. You will then be transferred to a private inpatient room that is prepared to allow you to rest and recover under the supervision of your attending physician and nurses. One adult caregiver may stay with you overnight during your hospitalization. A fold-out Murphy bed has been integrated into your room for their individualized comfort.
Your procedure will be performed in a state-of-the-art operating suite that is part of a fully accredited hospital that has been recognized by the American College of Surgeons for Excellence in care quality. Highly trained professionals using the most modern equipment and techniques will attend to you. In addition to your surgeons, the surgical team includes anesthesiologists, operating room technicians, nurses, and physician assistants.
What to Expect Post-Operation
You will experience some changes that are quite common after surgery and may include:
Some mild swelling and bruising is to be expected after surgery and will gradually subside in a few weeks.
Some soreness is normal after surgery but we will provide medications to maximize your comfort and help speed up your recovery. Intermittent muscle spasms and feelings of tightness are normal and will subside as your swelling resolves.
Scar lines tend to improve in appearance for up to a year and are usually faded by 12-18 months.
Some numbness in the skin is normal after surgery. Occasionally the recovery of sensory nerves can result in tingling, itching, or mild electrical sensations that come and go. These sensations will resolve over time and are usually accompanied by the return of feeling in the skin.
You may resume your normal activities as recommended by your surgeon. In most cases, avoidance of strenuous activity is recommended for 4-6 weeks. As a general rule, most patients can drive between 2-3 weeks after surgery if you are no longer using pain medication and your doctor has cleared you. It is recommended to perform gentle stretches for the shoulders beginning in the early weeks after your procedure. Your clinic team can provide specific instruction for a post-mastectomy range of motion exercises as applicable. You should maintain a full range of motion within the early weeks post-operation. Patients are generally released to return to full activities and work schedule between 4-6 weeks after surgery. Your clinic team will provide any necessary documentation for your employer.
Returning Home Post-Operation
If you are traveling from out of state or internationally for care with us, your caregiver will need to be with you throughout your stay post-discharge and on the same flight home to assist you in the airport. Your caregiver’s education will be provided by our nursing staff during your time with us and our team is available to you and your assistant 24 hours/day should any questions arise after you are released from the hospital. Your arrangements for assistance after surgery should include an estimated week to ten days of availability from your caregiver.
The Team at Center for Restorative Breast Surgery is Here for You
Be reassured that you are being attended to by some of the most highly skilled and dedicated healthcare providers in the world. Do your best to relax knowing that we are going to take excellent care of you from the moment you enter our facility. Do not hesitate to ask for any special needs you may have.