DIEP flap surgery stands for deep inferior epigastric artery perforator surgery. This procedure takes tissue from other parts of the body to reconstruct the breast. A specialized DIEP flap surgeon like Dr. Garza in Nashville will take skin, fat, and blood vessels from the lower abdomen to recreate the shape of the breast. DIEP flap surgery is often referred to as a tummy tuck since it provides similar benefits. DIEP flap surgery also offers the potential benefit of returning sensation to the reconstructed breast.
DIEP FLAP VS. TRAM FLAP
Both procedures involve using tissue from another part of the body to reconstruct the breast, but there are some key differences between the two. DIEP flap surgery is less invasive than TRAM flap surgery, as it doesn’t require cutting through muscle tissue. This means that patients tend to experience less pain and have a shorter recovery time.
However, DIEP flap surgery is not an option for everyone, as it requires a certain amount of fatty tissue in order to be successful. For patients who don’t have enough fat for a DIEP flap, a TRAM flap may be a better option. TRAM flap surgery is more invasive, but it can be performed even if there is only a small amount of fat available. As a result, TRAM flaps are often considered to be a more versatile option for breast reconstruction. Ultimately, the best option for each patient will depend on their individual needs and preferences.
Many candidates have questions about what qualifies them for the DIEP Flap procedure. One of the most common concerns relates to previous abdominal surgeries, especially cesarean section birth, or C Section. Usually, one or two C Sections will not impact DIEP Flap. In fact, a plastic surgeon can take the donor tissue off of the top of the abdominal muscles so it will not disturb anything else. Below are a couple of things you should consider before DIEP flap.
You should be in good health at the time of your procedure. When you meet with Dr. Garza for your initial consultation, you should review your medical history thoroughly. You should review any health risks like allergies, history of smoking, and especially any previous procedures for breast cancer treatment.
Another concern relates to receiving radiation therapy for breast cancer. One side effect of radiation therapy is a condition called fibrosis, which occurs when non-cancerous cells sustain damage during radiation treatment.
Because of the hardened scar tissue, some plastic surgeons have turned away candidates for breast reconstruction saying that the remaining tissue might be too firm to use in the reconstruction.
With DIEP flap, however, that’s not a necessary concern. We’re able to solely use soft tissue to restore volume to the breast.
Also, if you don’t have enough tissue around your tummy, we can take tissue from another donor area such as the buttocks or the thigh. This is also referred to as a free flap or fat transfer.