DIEP Flap Breast Reconstruction (Deep Inferior Epigastric Perforator Flap)
The DIEP flap procedure is the most advanced form of breast reconstruction available today. It is the preferred technique performed at PRMA. The surgery uses the patient's own abdominal skin and fat to reconstruct a natural, warm, soft breast after mastectomy.
Unlike the TRAM flap, the DIEP flap preserves all the abdominal muscles. Only abdominal skin and fat are removed similar to a "tummy tuck". Patients experience less pain after surgery because of this, enjoy a faster recovery and maintain their abdominal strength long-term.
The skin and fat below the belly button feels very similar to breast tissue. It is the perfect choice to replace the breast tissue removed by the mastectomy. The blood vessels ("perforators") that keep this skin and fat alive lie just beneath or within the abdominal muscle. A small incision is made in the abdominal muscle to access these vessels.
The prepared tissue ("flap") is then disconnected from the body and transplanted to the chest using microsurgery. Most patients are also candidates for sensory nerve reconstruction. This reconstructs the nerves that supply feeling and allows for improved long term sensation in the reconstructed breast. The surgeons then shape the tissue to create the new breast.