Breast Reconstruction with DIEP Flap
Deep Inferior Epigastric Perforator (DIEP) flap is an advanced microsurgical technique used in breast reconstruction. It is a complex procedure that requires a surgeon who is skilled and experienced in the procedure.
DIEP flap surgery involves removing blood vessels, fat and skin from the lower abdomen to rebuild the breast. During this procedure, a flap of skin and fat and its blood vessels is removed from the lower abdominal region of the patient. As the flap needs a good blood supply to survive, the surgeon must reconnect the flap’s blood vessels to blood vessels in the patient’s chest using microsurgery (surgery using a microscope). Finally, the flap is sculpted by the surgeon to create a breast.
DIEP flap surgery has the advantage of a much faster recovery than a muscle-sacrificing abdominal flap procedure such as TRAM. Also, the procedure exposes women to a lower risk of losing abdominal muscle strength. Lastly, a DIEP flap provides a more natural appearance to the breast when compared to an implant.
As is the case with any surgery, DIEP flap breast reconstruction carries a few risks. Risks specific to DIEP surgery include inadequate blood flow to the flap through the microsurgical connection of the blood vessels that can lead to failure (necrosis) of the flap. The DIEP procedure also carries a risk of abdominal wall weakness or hernia, even though no abdominal muscle is used to reconstruct the breast.