Awareness Options – DIEP Flap

Breast Reconstruction Awareness

For women considering mastectomy, whether a result of breast cancer or as prophylaxis due to a risk of developing breast cancer, there are several reconstructive options available to them. Unfortunately, many women are unaware of these choices. While efforts are underway to require that women be informed about their reconstructive options, we’re probably a way off from this becoming a reality.

At University Plastic Surgery, we are committed to educating women about the options available to them. Our team of plastic surgeons is specially trained in the latest microsurgical techniques for breast reconstruction. In many instances, we are able to benefit patients in ways that were inconceivable less than a decade ago. But it starts with educating the patient.


Breast Reconstruction Options

There are many surgical options for breast reconstruction following mastectomy, but there is no “one right answer” for every patient. Medical circumstances, surgical history, and body makeup are all things to be reviewed and considered by patient and physician in consultation before deciding on a particular procedure or course of action.

My role, as a plastic surgeon trained in the latest microsurgical techniques for breast reconstruction, is to gain a thorough understanding of the patient’s individual needs and circumstances and to educate the patient regarding all surgical options available to them and the advantages and, if any, disadvantages of each. Only then can a patient make a truly informed choice.


Breast Reconstruction/DIEP Flap

Among the recent advances in breast reconstruction is DIEP flap surgery. DIEP flap (which stands for deep inferior epigastric artery perforator flap) is a breast reconstruction technique in which the DIEP blood vessels, skin and fatty tissue are removed from the lower tummy, transferred to the chest and reshaped as needed to reconstruct the breast. DIEP flap is one of several microsurgical (viewed through a lens) techniques used in breast reconstruction today, requiring specialized training of the plastic surgeon.


There are several advantages to DIEP flap surgery over other flap-based reconstruction methods. First, by sparing the muscles and connective tissue of the lower abdomen, our DIEP flap surgeons are able to lower the risk of hernia formation or bulging following the procedure. Second, use of the DIEP flap generally allows for quicker recovery times and a shorter hospital stay. Third, in some cases the effect of DIEP flap surgery on the mid-section is similar to that of a tummy tuck. While DIEP flap surgery is becoming increasingly popular, it is important to recognize that not all women are candidates for DIEP flap. You should consult with a plastic surgeon trained in DIEP flap and other microsurgical procedures.

Loren S. Schechter, MD, FACS
University Plastic Surgery

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