“Too Old” for a DIEP Flap?
By: Courtney Floyd
We have all heard the expression “Age is just a number,” but what about when it comes to DIEP flap breast reconstruction? Can you be too old for the surgery?
I have been asked this question numerous times and the answer is not black and white. There is no specific age when a woman becomes too old to undergo DIEP flap breast reconstruction. Age is one of the many factors that we take into consideration when determining if someone will be a good candidate. In general, an individual’s overall health is much more influential in deciding the best reconstruction route versus age alone.
So what makes a good DIEP candidate?
Again, overall health is taken into consideration before scheduling the DIEP flap. This includes healthy weight, blood pressure, etc.
It is important that the amount of fatty tissue in your lower abdomen is adequate to reconstruct one (or both) breast(s). If additional volume is needed, fat grafting can be performed to reach the desired breast size during the revision stage.
Previous abdominal surgeries (hysterectomy, C-section, liposuction) do not exclude an individual from the DIEP flap, however additional tests may need to be performed prior to surgery to ensure the necessary blood vessels are viable. The only previous abdominal surgery excluding a patient from this procedure would be a tummy tuck. In this case there are other flap options that could be considered such as the GAP or TUG.
Ultimately, the best way to determine if you are a candidate for the DIEP flap is to be evaluated by one of our experienced surgeons. You can do this by scheduling an in-person consultation at 800-692-5565 or you can fill out our FREE online virtual consultation form HERE.