Restoring the shape, size, and appearance of the breast is often required after a mastectomy. A diagnosis of breast cancer and the resulting mastectomy can be devastating, but being able to reconstruct a natural looking breast, can significantly boost self-esteem. At Bandak Plastic Surgery, we perform breast reconstruction using the DIEP (Deep Inferior Epigastric Perforator) Flap Reconstruction technique.
DIEP Flap Surgery
The DIEP Flap procedure involves the use of a patient’s own fat and skin from the lower abdomen to remake a soft, natural-looking breast. Using fat and skin to reconstruct the breast is a good option, because it creates a similar feel to breast tissue.
The procedure does not affect the abdominal muscles in any way, so there is less risk of complications. DEIP surgery is more complex, and has a longer recovery time when compared to breast implants, but the results are worth it, and patients have the added benefit of a flatter tummy.
How does it work?
An incision is made in the abdominal region, and then the skin, fat and tiny blood vessels are removed. The tissue is then separated, leaving the muscle intact, and the skin is stretched to close the donor area. The tissue is then transplanted to the breast pocket and the blood vessels connected, so that the new breast can grow and change as time passes.
What is Recovery Like?
Patient may have to remain in hospital for up to 3 days, but most can walk with some assistance by day 2. They will also experience some soreness and discomfort in the lower belly and breasts for 7-14 days.
Surgical drains are put in the reconstructed breast during surgery and remain in place for up to 2 weeks. Full recovery takes 4-6 weeks. However, patients should follow their doctor’s advice regarding when to resume normal activities.