“Implants work well for a lot of people, but I just want women to know that there is another option,” says Robin Cape, to Citizen-Times.com.
The former city councilwoman, who is now a “sustainability consultant,” shares her experience with breast cancer and how she made the choice to undergo DIEP flap breast reconstruction instead of breast implants.
“I’m a natural girl and a child of the 60s, so implants just didn’t feel right for me,” she says.
During the DIEP flap procedure (named after the deep inferior epigastric perforator vessels), a plastic surgeon removes tissue from the lower abdomen, below the navel. That tissue is then isolated with the blood vessels (deep inferior epigastric perforators) that provide a blood supply for the skin and fat.
The surgeon moves the tissue and vessels to the chest wall. Using microsurgery, the blood vessels are reconnected to vessels that are located at the chest wall.
There are several key benefits involved with the DIEP flap procedure. As mentioned in the article, the reconstructed breasts “behave more like other natural tissue.” There’s also no concern about breast implant rupture or other implant-related complications.
Unlike other flap techniques, DIEP requires no sacrifice of the abdominal muscle tissue. This can minimize abdominal weakness and discomfort after surgery. In addition, the risk for hernia formation is decreased, and the aesthetic benefits in the abdomen are similar to a tummy tuck.
Aside from DIEP, other lesser known breast reconstruction techniques include TRAM Flap breast reconstruction, SIEA flap breast reconstruction and SGAP flap breast reconstruction.