DIEP Flap Breast Reconstruction
DIEP is an advanced technique in breast reconstruction, which uses the patient's own body tissue to reconstruct the breast after a mastectomy. The procedure gets its name from it's blood supply, the Deep Inferior Epigastric Perforator. Like the TRAM technique, DIEP involves the transfer of tissue from the abdomen to the new breast.
Dr. Beth Collins is one of the few plastic surgeons in New Haven County to perform the DIEP procedure, as well as several other advanced techniques in free flap breast reconstruction.
Who Can Get DIEP Breast Reconstruction?
Most women who have undergone a mastectomy can consider reconstruction with the DIEP technique. The procedure has also been used in cases of lumpectomy defects or congenital breast deficiency. The DIEP technique may not be recommended for obese patients, cigarette smokers, psychologically unstable patients or those who have undergone previous abdominal surgery.
To fully understand if you are a candidate for DIEP flap breast reconstruction, it is best to consult with plastic surgeon Dr Beth Collins in Guilford, CT. During your visit, she can explain details about the indications, pre-operative steps, surgery and post-operative recovery period.
What Does DIEP Breast Reconstruction Do?
During the DIEP flap procedure, Dr. Collins removes excess lower abdominal tissue, from the navel down. She then isolates that tissue to the feeding blood vessels. These vessels, the “deep inferior epigastric perforators” (DIEP), with connected skin and fat are detached and moved to the chest wall. Using microsurgery, the doctor connects the abdominal vessels to new blood vessels at the chest wall.
The DIEP flap procedure has a few key benefits: It doesn't require sacrifice of the abdominal muscles, so it can minimize abdominal weakness and discomfort after surgery. It may also decrease the risk of bulging or hernia formation. Because it uses tissue from the lower abdomen, patients get the aesthetic benefits of tummy tuck closure.
After DIEP: What Should I Expect?
Dr. Collins will guide you through recovery and provide specific instructions to help you get back to your routine as soon as possible. You can expect three to five days in the hospital before being discharged. However, patients can be mobile after the first day of recovery. Surgical drains will be in place four one to two weeks.
Nipple reconstruction may be performed at a later stage, several weeks after breast reconstruction, as well as other breast reconstruction revisions.
If you are considering breast reconstruction in Connecticut, we encourage you to contact the Guilford practice of Beth Collins M.D. Our office is convenient for residents of New Haven, East Haven, Guilford and Madison. Use our online contact form or call 203-689-5295 to schedule an appointment.