How Painful is DIEP Flap Breast Reconstruction?

By: Courtney Floyd


When patients learn about DIEP flap as an option for breast reconstruction after a mastectomy, one of the first questions they ask is how painful the procedure is.

The DIEP flap uses a patient’s skin and fat from the lower abdomen to recreate a breast. The abdominal incision runs from hip to hip just like a tummy tuck scar. Because of this, patients tend to think this procedure will be more painful and require a longer recovery time compared to implant reconstruction.

This is a common misconception!

In fact, with the implementation of our Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) protocol, our patients continuously report that recovery is much easier than what they had anticipated.

Laurie recently underwent bilateral DIEP flap reconstruction. Just two weeks after surgery she shares that she “feels amazing” and is only taking Tylenol on occasion to help with any discomfort.

“I had the worst anxiety before surgery,” shares Laurie. Now at two weeks post op she says that choosing to have DIEP flap was “100% the right choice.” “I was in the hospital for only two days and had no pain,” Laurie continues.

Laurie’s experience is reflected in majority of our patients undergoing reconstruction. Our ERAS protocol has been a game changer for patients! Patients are experiencing less pain, taking little to no narcotics, are up walking the day after surgery and can return home from the hospital in as little as 2 days.

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PRMA Plastic Surgery