Adding Implants During DIEP Flap Breast Reconstruction
By: Courtney Floyd
I have had a number of questions recently regarding implant placement at the same time as DIEP flap breast reconstruction in order to achieve larger breast volume.
Although this may seem like a good idea, placing a breast implant at the same time as the initial DIEP flap reconstruction can be fraught with problems.
The DIEP flap procedure involves complex microsurgery to reconnect the blood vessels on the flap to the blood vessels in your chest (the internal mammary artery and vein). This provides your newly reconstructed breast the blood flow it needs to stay alive.
"The newly reconstructed breast is like a new born baby," says PRMA's Dr. Arishita. "It needs to be handled very delicately and cared for properly. The slightest amount of additional stress to the newly connected blood vessels could completely compromise your new breast. Placing a breast implant under the DIEP flap at the same time as the initial reconstruction can potentially compress the very delicate blood vessels and cause the entire flap to fail."
PRMA recommends waiting at least three months before adding an implant under the DIEP flap. By waiting, you can be certain the flap is healthy enough to support any additional stress delivered by the implant.