There are no pleasant aspects of getting a mastectomy. The best you can do is look for post-surgery options to help mitigate what you have lost. DIEP is a “deep inferior epigastric artery perforator” flap. DIEP uses your body tissue to perform breast reconstructive surgery.
Types of Breast Reconstructive Surgery
There are two main options for autologous reconstruction of a breast. DIEP flap is the first, and the TRAM flap is the other. TRAM uses your muscles, fat, and skin from the lower abdomen to create a new breast.
Benefits of DIEP
The benefits of choosing a DIEP flap are numerous. The DIEP procedure does not use abdominal muscles so patients retain the strength and function of the abdomen. DIEP also has the following benefits:
- Reduces the loss of muscle function
- Less chance of abdominal hernia
- Faster recovery time
- Flatter appearance of the abdomen
- No supportive mesh is required
How is DIEP Performed
BreastCancer.org provides the details on how the DIEP procedure is performed. DIEP is considered to be a muscle-sparing operation.
The procedure begins with fat, blood vessels, and skin which is moved from the lower belly wall and moved up to the breast. The surgeon will reattach the breast flap using the tissues and blood vessels through microsurgery. Due to the lack of muscle tissue used in the procedure, women typically experience a faster recovery rate than other types of breast reconstructive surgery.
If you are considering DIEP for breast reconstruction, note that tissue can only be taken from the belly once. If you plan on using autologous reconstruction for the other breast, the tissue will have to be taken from the back or buttocks.
The DIEP procedure mimics a tummy tuck and leaves a horizontal scar spanning your hip bones. The incision is about a third of the way between the navel and pubic hair. Most likely, the scar will be hidden below your bikini line.
DIEP is a new and more refined technique than TRAM. DIEP uses skin, blood vessels, and fat from the abdomen but does not use muscle tissue. Patients have a quicker healing time. The DIEP Flap method offers unique advantages and is a great choice for breast reconstruction.
A Fulfilling Future
Contact Keck Medicine of USC today and schedule an appointment to meet with a professional and discuss your options!