Learn More About DIEP Flap Breast Reconstruction
Women who have undergone cancer treatment and a mastectomy often elect to have breast reconstruction surgeries to restore the breasts. While implant-based procedures are popular, surgeries which use the patient’s own tissues, like DIEP flap breast reconstruction are highly popular.
In the DIEP flap breast reconstruction, tissue from the patient’s abdomen is used to recreate the breast mound. While it is a more involved procedure than implant-based surgery, patients often prefer it as the breasts may have a more natural feel. Some patients consider it a benefit to not have a foreign object like an implant in their body.
Can I undergo DIEP flap breast reconstruction?
DIEP flap breast reconstruction is appropriate for many women who have undergone a mastectomy. It may also be appropriate for patients who require correction of a congenital breast deficiency or lumpectomy defect. Some patients may choose it as a method of breast augmentation.
How is DIEP flap breast reconstruction performed?
This surgery is performed when you are under a general anesthesia. Your plastic surgeon will separate excess lower abdominal skin and fat, disconnecting the joining blood vessels. Using microsurgery techniques, your plastic surgeon will reconnect the blood vessels at the breast site to those from the skin flap. The transplanted flap is then molded and contoured to mimic the shape and appearance of a natural breast. Because skin and fat are removed from the stomach, the effect can be like that of a tummy tuck.
How will I care for my body after breast reconstruction?
Following your surgery, you will stay in the hospital for a few days. Your activity will be greatly limited for the first few weeks of recovery, but you will be expected to walk one day after surgery. Any swelling you experience will subside and discomfort will be managed with medication prescribed by your plastic surgeon?
What other steps are involved in DIEP flap breast reconstruction?
As you heal, your plastic surgeon will want to see you in his office to track your progress. It is possible that revision surgeries may be necessary to ensure an ideal result. Approximately six to eight weeks after you have healed, the nipple may be reconstructed, as well. This is often done similar to a tattoo, where pigment is placed to mimic the appearance of a nipple.
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