General anaesthetic

Surgery Time

6 Hours




Recovery garments

Bra, compression garment for abdomen

Hospital stay

3-5 nights


1 week and 2 weeks after discharge

Return to desk-based work

2-3 weeks

Return to driving

4 weeks

Return to sport

6-8 weeks

DIEP Flap Breast reconstruction

Breast reconstruction using your own tissues (“autologous breast reconstruction”) is a great option if you are a candidate for it. Autologous reconstructions are often more natural in appearance and age and change with the rest of your body. They are also more durable to radiotherapy compared to implant-based reconstructions.

The first line option for autologous breast reconstruction is a flap of tissue taken from below your belly button. This is known as a DIEP (Deep Inferior Epigastric artery Perforator) flap. This flap can be shaped to reconstruct either 1 or 2 breasts depending on your needs. It can be performed at the time of your mastectomy (immediate) or at any time after your cancer treatment has finished (delayed). If you have previously had an implant/tissue expander based breast reconstruction this can be replaced using your abdominal tissues also.