TAP (Underarm and back)
The TAP flap is taken from the back and underneath the arm, so that your bra would hide any scarring. Because most women don’t have much tissue in that area, it is used more often for lumpectomy patients or as a supplemental tissue source for breast reconstruction. It may be used with small implants, too.
TAP stands for thoracodorsal artery perforator – the flap’s main blood vessel. As with other perforator flaps, skin, fat and blood vessels are harvested for transfer, but not muscle. In contrast, one of the first breast reconstruction procedures – LD – involves transferring the back’s latissumus dorsi muscle along with the attached skin and fat.
The TAP flap is a versatile option. The surgeon can detach it as a “free flap” before transferring it or use a tunneling approach to move the flap under the skin from the upper back to the chest region.