Deep inferior epigastric perforator (DIEP) flap reconstruction is our preferred approach toward breast reconstruction using a woman’s own tissue following breast cancer. Unlike reconstruction using breast implants alone, DIEP flap reconstruction uses the patient’s own abdominal skin and fat to rebuild one or both breasts. DIEP flap reconstruction can deliver results that feel and look like a natural breast.
Contact us online today to learn more about your options for breast reconstruction. The Institute of Reconstructive Plastic Surgery of Central Texas helps men and women from Austin, Round Rock and throughout Texas.
Benefits of DIEP Flap Reconstruction
Whenever possible, we prefer DIEP flap reconstruction because this technique doesn’t involve taking any portion of a woman’s abdominal muscle. Our fellowship-trained microsurgeons are skilled in performing DIEP flap reconstructions. With 10 surgeons in our practice, we always perform these surgeries with a team approach to decrease operative time and ensure the best possible outcomes.
Although many women prefer DIEP flap reconstruction because it provides a reconstruction without the use of an implant, DIEP flap reconstructions can be combined with breast implants to provide additional volume if the patient desires.
Understanding the Procedure
DIEP flap reconstruction is an advanced microsurgery technique for breast reconstruction. During DIEP flap surgery, the skin and fat from the abdomen is carefully removed with the blood vessels that supply it.
The blood vessels are carefully dissected free from the surrounding abdominal musculature without taking any abdominal muscle with the flap. These blood vessels are then reattached to blood vessels in the chest using microsurgical techniques to provide the DIEP flap with new blood flow. In this way, the abdominal skin and fat is transferred to the chest.
The operation is complete when the flap is carefully molded into a new breast and the abdomen is closed in a manner similar to an abdominoplasty. If the patient is having a unilateral breast reconstruction with the DIEP flap, a breast lift or breast reduction may be performed on the opposite breast during the initial DIEP flap operation or at a later time.
DIEP flap reconstruction is a powerful option for breast reconstruction when using implants for reconstruction is contraindicated or when the patient chooses to use her own tissue for breast reconstruction. Patients often request flap reconstruction so that they will not have to use synthetic implants and will have a lifelong reconstruction that will not require the maintenance that implants require.
DIEP flap reconstruction involves the removal of tissue without any muscle from the abdomen. This can give patients the cosmetic benefit of removing excess abdominal skin and fat at the same time as their breast reconstruction. The operation is significantly more complicated than an abdominoplasty, however, and a detailed consultation with a surgeon at the Institute of Reconstructive Plastic Surgery of Central Texas will address all the details surrounding DIEP reconstruction.
SIEA Flap reconstruction is performed when a woman’s anatomy allows. In this type of reconstruction, the abdominal strength layer is not cut and there is no need for dissection of the blood vessels through the abdominal musculature. This flap can only be performed in a small percentage of cases because most women’s anatomy does not allow for this operation to be performed. During your consultation, we will discuss the details surrounding flaps selection in detail.
Recovery and Results
Since the DIEP flap procedure doesn’t remove any abdominal muscle, most Texas women experience a faster and more comfortable recovery compared to other flap reconstruction options. With the abdominal muscles intact, there is less pain at the donor site and lower risk of some complications. You’ll notice a change in the appearance of your breasts immediately. You will typically stay in the hospital for 4-5 days following DIEP flap reconstruction. As the healing process continues over the coming weeks, your final results are revealed.
Breast reconstruction using the DIEP approach from the Institute of Reconstructive Plastic Surgery of Central Texas can help to give women a sense of feeling whole again following breast cancer treatment, with beautiful, natural results.