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Southwest Breast and Aesthetics

DIEP Flap Surgery: Are You a Candidate?

Southwest Breast & Aesthetics

For many individuals who have undergone a mastectomy as part of their breast cancer treatment journey, breast reconstruction is a critical component of regaining their sense of self and restoring confidence. With many different reconstruction options available, how can you determine which is best for you? Determining which technique you might be a good candidate for can be achieved by gathering the facts about each method and speaking with a qualified plastic surgeon. Let's take a look at the effective and commonly used DIEP Flap method

An Overview of DIEP Flap Surgery

DIEP (Deep Inferior Epigastric Perforator) flap surgery is an advanced technique in breast reconstruction that offers remarkable results and renewed hope to those affected by breast cancer. This is an intricate and highly specialized surgical procedure that utilizes the patient's own tissue to create a new breast mound. Typically taken from the patient's lower abdominal area, the reconstruction is completed using natural, transplanted, non-foreign material, unlike traditional implant-based breast reconstruction. One of the defining aspects of DIEP flap surgery is the preservation of abdominal tissue. Unlike older procedures that may sacrifice abdominal muscles, the DIEP flap technique is designed to spare these muscles, reducing the risk of long-term abdominal weakness. Another notable aspect of DIEP flap surgery is that it relies on microsurgical techniques, where blood vessels as tiny as 1-2 millimeters in diameter are meticulously reconnected. This precision is essential to ensure proper blood flow to the transplanted tissue. Ultimately, the DIEP method provides a natural look and feel to the reconstructed breast, which is often considered a significant and desired advantage.

The Sucess Rate of DIEP Flap Surgery

While DIEP flap surgery is commonly used and safe, understanding the success rates and factors that can influence the outcomes of these procedures is crucial for those considering this life-changing surgery. DIEP flap surgeries generally boast high success rates, and the majority of patients experience favorable outcomes with reconstructed breasts that look and feel natural. The key advantage of DIEP flap surgery is the use of the patient's own tissue, which minimizes the risk of rejection or allergic reactions, leading to a more successful integration. In addition, surgeons who perform DIEP flap procedures undergo extensive training in microsurgery, and this precision is vital for reconnecting tiny blood vessels, thus ensuring adequate blood flow to the transplanted tissue. The specialized skill set of these surgeons contributes significantly to the procedure's success. The patient also plays a critical role in the success of this surgery. Patients in good health tend to have better surgical outcomes, and adhering to postoperative care instructions is essential for a successful result. It's advisable to address any existing medical conditions before undergoing the procedure, and patients should closely follow their surgeon's aftercare guidance regarding wound care, activity restrictions, and follow-up appointments.

The Benefits of DIEP Flap Surgery

DIEP Flap surgery offers several unique advantages compared to other breast reconstruction options. This procedure is known for creating natural-looking and feeling breasts as well as enhancing breast symmetry and balance, ensuring that both breasts appear proportionate. The use of one's own tissue in DIEP Flap surgery often results in more durable and longer-lasting outcomes compared to implant-based reconstructions, along with eliminating the risk of complications like capsular contracture or implant migration. DIEP flap surgery can also have a profound positive impact on an individual's emotional and psychological well-being. It can help restore self-confidence and a sense of wholeness after mastectomy, allowing patients to move forward with their lives.

Am I a candidate for DIEP Flap Surgery?

There are specific eligibility criteria and considerations that a plastic surgeon will evaluate before determining if a patient is a suitable candidate for DIEP Flap Surgery. One of the primary eligibility factors is the availability of adequate abdominal tissue for the flap. Although a patient without enough abdominal tissue may not be a candidate for a DIEP, they may be a candidate for a different flap, from another region of the body. The patient's overall health will be assessed to ensure they are medically fit for surgery, and conditions like uncontrolled diabetes, heart disease, or certain autoimmune disorders may increase surgical risks and could be contraindications. In addition, patients with a very high or very low BMI may not be ideal candidates, as extreme BMIs can impact the success and safety of the surgery. 

Take the Next Steps on Your Journey

If you have had or are going to have a mastectomy and are considering reconstructive surgery, you should begin to schedule consultations with qualified Phoenix breast reconstruction surgeons to find a good fit and determine your eligibility. Ultimately, the decision of whether a patient is a suitable candidate for DIEP Flap surgery is made through a thorough evaluation by a board-certified plastic surgeon like those at Southwest Breast.

Your journey to better begins with a consultation at Southwest Breast and Aesthetics. Our plastic surgeons set the standards for plastic surgery through their innovative procedures and meticulous attention to detail. Discover a better experience by booking your consultation at Southwest Breast and Aesthetics today.