Microsurgical Breast Reconstruction DIEP Flap

Dr. Rebecca Studinger specializes in the DIEP (Deep Inferior Epigastric Perforator) Flap microsurgery technique – one of the most advanced procedures for breast reconstruction following mastectomy. The deep inferior epigastric vessels course beneath the rectus abdominus on each side. These vessels send off branches to the muscle as well as through the muscle into the overlying fat. These perforating branches are identified, preserved and transferred with the overlying fat tissues for microscopic re-attachment at the mastectomy site. Restoration of the nipple and areola follows reconstruction of the breast mound.

With conventional procedures – such as the TRAM and gluteal flaps – the underlying muscles are used with the skin and fat for breast reconstruction. This can lengthen recovery and place patients at increased risk for hernia or abdominal “bulge.” Taking the gluteal musculature may result in some weakness in the buttocks. Only fat tissue is collected during the DIEP Flap procedure. As a result, the gluteal and abdominal muscles are not compromised, and the abdomen is often improved cosmetically, much like a “tummy tuck.”

As the reconstruction matures, it becomes part of the patient’s body as the surrounding nerves and blood vessels grow back into the area. The result is a new breast that is similar in density and appearance to a natural breast.

The DIEP Flap procedure can be performed immediately at the time of mastectomy or three to six months following chemotherapy or radiation therapy. The best candidates for DIEP Flap reconstruction are patients who have sufficient fat tissue on the lower abdomen to reconstruct one or both breasts to the desired volume. Surgical time varies between four to 10 hours with a patient hospital stay of about four days. Patients can usually resume normal activities within six weeks.

What are some of the benefits of Microsurgical Breast Reconstruction?

What are some of the advantages of choosing DIEP flap?