5 Breast Reconstruction Words You Should Know
By: Courtney Floyd
The DIEP Flap is the most advanced form of reconstruction available today! The operation uses the patient's own abdominal skin and fat to reconstruct a natural, warm, and soft breast after a mastectomy. Unlike the TRAM flap, the DIEP flap preserves all the abdominal muscles. Only the lower abdominal skin and fat are removed. Saving the abdominal muscles means patients experience less pain, enjoy a faster recovery, preserve their core strength, and have a lower risk of complications.
After a mastectomy, a patient's own fat and skin can be used to replace what cancer took away. Skin, fatty tissue, and the tiny blood vessels ("perforators") can be taken from the patient's abdomen or buttocks. Perforator flap techniques carefully preserve the patient's underlying muscles. The tissue is then transplanted to the patient's chest and reconnected using microsurgery.
If a patient was unable to preserve the nipple during a mastectomy, an additional step can be performed to reform a nipple. There are many different nipple creation techniques. At PRMA, the bow-tie method is primarily used. This can be done in conjunction with a revision operation or as a separate procedure in the office. Watch the surgery here.
At PRMA, fat grafting is most commonly used after a mastectomy in combination with other reconstructive practices to improve the breast shape. This is achieved by taking fat from one part of a patient's body and then injecting it into problem areas.
Micropigmentation, or medical tattooing, is a procedure designed to restore the color and shape of the areola after reconstruction. The areola restoration is performed in an office setting and usually takes one to two hours.