DIEP (Deep Inferior Epigastric Perforator) Flap is a type of microsurgical breast reconstruction procedure that uses skin, fat, and blood vessels from the patient’s lower abdomen to create a new breast.
It is considered one of the most advanced and effective methods for breast reconstruction after mastectomy and provides the benefit of not only restoring the breast but also improving the appearance of the abdominal area.
The procedure is performed by a plastic surgeon who is highly trained in microsurgery and typically requires a hospital stay of 3-5 days.
After surgery, most patients stay in hospital for 3-5 days and by the time they go home are walking (including stairs), dressing and showering themselves. Recovery milestones include a return to desk-based work at 2 weeks, return to driving at 4-weeks and a return to exercise at 6-8 weeks.
Who is a candidate for DIEP flap?
The DIEP Flap procedure is typically applied to women who have undergone a mastectomy (removal of one or both breasts) due to breast cancer or other conditions. It can be performed safely at the time of mastectomy (immediate reconstruction), to replace an implant-based reconstruction (delayed-immediate) or even if no reconstruction has been performed after mastectomy (delayed reconstruction).
It is important to note that not all women are candidates for DIEP Flap reconstruction, as certain medical conditions and lifestyle factors may impact their ability to undergo the procedure. It is often thought that women who are thin may not be a candidate for this procedure but this is not always the case. Evaluation by a plastic surgeon who performs DIEPs will tell you whether this form of reconstruction is an option for you.
A thorough evaluation by a plastic surgeon and medical team is necessary to determine whether this procedure is the right choice for an individual.
How long does the procedure take?
The DIEP Flap procedure typically takes 6-hours for a single breast reconstruction or 8-hours for the reconstruction of both breasts.
The exact duration of the procedure depends on several factors, including the size and shape of the reconstructed breast, the amount of tissue removed from the abdomen, and the experience of the surgical team.
During the procedure, the plastic surgeon carefully removes skin, fat, and blood vessels from the lower abdomen and transplants them into the chest area to create a new breast.