DIEP Flap Breast Reconstruction on the Rise

By: Courtney Floyd


How often is DIEP flap reconstruction performed in the nation? 

A recent study published by PubMed shows there is an increased use of autologous breast reconstruction after mastectomy.

Using the Nationwide Inpatient Sample database, information on breast cancer and mastectomy rates, along with the type of autologous breast reconstruction technique performed were gathered and analyzed.

Out of 427,272 total patients diagnosed with breast cancer, 80.3% underwent mastectomy and within this group 43.3% chose to have immediate breast reconstruction.

From the group of patients who chose to undergo immediate breast reconstruction, 21.7% underwent some type of autologous breast reconstruction and 78.3% chose implant based breast reconstruction.

It is interesting to note; most autologous procedures were performed in the southern region of the country (37.4%). Procedures like the TRAM were most likely performed in the Northeast region, whereas most DIEP flaps and Latissimus Dorsi flaps were performed in the south. The study also showed the popularity of the DIEP and LAT flaps increased significantly over the course of the study while the use of the TRAM and free TRAM decreased significantly.

The study concluded autologous breast reconstruction (specifically the DIEP flap and Latissimus Dorsi flap) demonstrated a significant positive trend over time both nationally and regionally.

Although breast implants still represent the most popular type of breast reconstruction, it is exciting to see that procedures like the DIEP flap are gaining in popularity across the nation. We believe the DIEP flap represents todays “gold standard” in autologous breast reconstruction! It uses the patient's own abdominal skin and fat to reconstruct a natural, warm, soft breast after mastectomy. Unlike the TRAM flap, the DIEP preserves all the abdominal muscles. Only abdominal skin and fat are removed similar to a "tummy tuck". Saving the abdominal muscles means patients experience less pain, enjoy a faster recovery, maintain their core strength long-term, and have a lower risk of complications.

For more on this study click HERE

How often is DIEP flap reconstruction performed in the nation?  | PRMA Plastic Surgery

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