DIEP Flap Breast Reconstruction
The Deep Inferior Epigastric Perforator Flap procedure (DIEP Flap) is a breast reconstruction procedure in which tissue from the abdomen is used to restore the shape of the breast. This microsurgical breast reconstruction technique allows patients to rebuild a natural-looking breast after mastectomy, while simultaneously undergoing a procedure akin to a tummy tuck. This type of reconstructive microsurgery is innovative and very precise and requires specialized training. The highly skilled breast reconstruction surgeons at the Long Island Plastic Surgical Group are experienced in DIEP flap surgery.
How Does Breast Reconstruction with DIEP Flap Work?
In a DIEP Flap procedure, your surgeon will remove tissue from the abdomen and relocate it to form a new breast mound. That tissue will be micro surgically connected to a new blood supply in the area where the breast will be rebuilt. Typically, the donor tissue will be connected to blood vessels near the sternum or in the armpit region. The abdomen is closed leaving an incision similar to that of a tummy tuck. DIEP Flap breast reconstruction typically takes anywhere from six to eight hours to complete, and is performed under general anesthesia. When performed by an experienced surgeon, DIEP flap is a safe and effective technique for breast reconstruction.1
What distinguishes DIEP Flap breast reconstruction from other procedures, such as TRAM Flap surgery, is that DIEP Flap surgery keeps the abdominal muscles in place using microsurgical techniques to attach blood vessels in the transplanted skin to those in the chest area. One of the chief advantages of this procedure over other reconstructive flap techniques is that fat and skin can be removed from the abdomen without having to use any of the underlying muscle. Sparing the abdominal wall musculature may reduce abdominal problems associated with the more traditional techniques. The blood supply to the new breast will be directed through perforator vessels that are taken from the rectus abdominis muscle (one of two such muscles that make up the abdominal wall), but the muscle itself will not be removed.
Who is a Candidate for DIEP Flap?
Candidates for DIEP Flap Breast Reconstruction include:
- Patients who have a sufficient amount of tissue in the lower abdomen to create the new breast or breasts
- Patients who are very physically active and wish to preserve their abdominal muscles
- Patients who have had previous radiation therapy
- Patients who have had a previous implant reconstruction procedure with unsatisfactory results.
Long Island and NYC Breast Reconstruction
The reconstructive breast surgeons at LIPSG are leaders in their field. Our surgeons work with you, in addition to your oncologists, radiologists, and other providers to form a collaborative partnership designed to give you the best possible care. During your initial consultation, we will discuss your treatment options and determine if DIEP flap is the best reconstructive procedure for you. Learn more about breast reconstruction, including frequently asked questions or contact us to schedule a consultation appointment.
1 Cubitt J, Barber Z, Khan AA, Tyler M. Breast reconstruction with deep inferior epigastric perforator flaps. Ann R Coll Surg Engl. 2012;94(8):552-558. doi:10.1308/003588412X13373405386457