The DIEP Flap breast reconstruction technique is a highly specialized and often very effective procedure that can give you natural-looking results. One of the added benefits of this procedure is that, because of the method our doctors use to restore the breasts, you will also receive a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) along with a breast reconstruction. DIEP Flap breast reconstruction involves complex microsurgical techniques that can be performed by the very experienced reconstructive surgeons here at the Ohio State University Department of Plastic Surgery’s Breast Reconstruction Center.
DIEP Flap Breast Reconstruction Candidates
The Deep Inferior Epigastric Perforator Flap reconstruction procedure, commonly referred to as DIEP Flap, involves taking tissue from the abdomen and moving it to the breast area to form new breasts. Abdominal muscles are kept in place during DIEP Flap breast reconstruction, and microsurgical techniques are performed to attach a new blood supply to the restored breasts. Candidates for this procedure include:
- Patients who have an adequate amount of abdominal tissue to create the new breast mound
- Physically active patients who do not wish to lose even partial amounts of abdominal muscles that may be necessary to remove in other flap reconstruction procedures
- Patients who are dissatisfied with the results of a previous implant reconstruction
- Patients who have had radiation therapy
Our reconstructive surgeon will evaluate you in an initial consultation and determine if you are a candidate for DIEP Flap breast reconstruction. For patients who may not be eligible, there are a number of other breast reconstruction procedures that can bring you excellent, natural-looking results.
DIEP Flap Breast Reconstruction Procedure
DIEP Flap breast reconstruction involves extraordinarily precise and complex microsurgery and is only available from a small handful of surgeons nationwide. The procedure begins with the removal of tissue from the lower abdomen, which is used to create the new breast. Our reconstructive surgeon will use very small instruments to connect blood vessels from the repositioned abdominal tissue to the chest area. This new blood supply will come from either the sternum area or the armpit region. The new breast is then shaped for the most natural-looking results, and the abdominal skin is redraped to form a flatter, more toned-looking abdomen.
DIEP Flap breast reconstruction is unique to other flap reconstruction techniques in that it does not require abdominal muscles to be moved along with skin and tissue. In addition to leaving the abdominal muscles intact, this procedure reduces the risk of the development of weakness in the abdominal wall and hernias in the abdomen.
The entire DIEP Flap breast reconstruction procedure is performed under general anesthesia and usually takes about six to eight hours to complete. At the OSU Department of Plastic Surgery, we work as a team with your oncologist, primary care physician, radiologist, and other medical professionals to ensure you attain the best possible results.
DIEP Flap Breast Reconstruction Recovery
Since breast reconstruction is a major surgical procedure, you should plan on at least two weeks of rest after treatment. You should be able to control any pain and discomfort with medication. After about four to six weeks, you will likely be able to resume normal daily activities. There will be some scarring in the breast area and the abdominal region; however, our surgeon will make every effort to make any residual scarring as light as possible.
Schedule A DIEP Flap Breast Reconstruction Consultation
We will be happy to meet with you and talk about all aspects of DIEP Flap breast reconstruction. At an initial consultation with one of our plastic and reconstructive surgeons, you are encouraged to ask any questions you may have. Our surgeon will evaluate your needs and help you decide if DIEP Flap breast reconstruction is the best option for your unique body type, or if alternative techniques may be more suitable treatment options. Please contact the Ohio State University Department of Plastic Surgery to schedule a consultation.