Natural Breast Reconstruction
DIEP flap is one of the autologous breast reconstruction techniques to restore a natural looking breast appearance using the patient’s own excess skin tissue from a donor site. Unlike an implant reconstruction, a DIEP flap breast reconstruction does not involve the placement of implants or another foreign substance in the patient’s body.
Board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Peter Koltz provides DIEP flap breast reconstruction surgery to patients in Toledo, Maumee, Northwest Ohio, Southeastern Michigan, and surrounding locations.
How does DIEP Flap Technique Work?
DIEP or Deep Inferior Epigastric Perforation is description of the tissue that is used from the donor site to create a new breast mound. It is major blood vessel present below the rectus abdominus, which is popularly known as the “six pack” muscles in the abdominal area.
Your surgeon will remove excess skin tissue and fat from the abdomen, and transfer it to the chest area to reconstruct the breast mound. DIEP breast reconstruction plastic surgery is quite similar to another technique called TRAM flap. However, the difference is that no muscle transfer from the abdomen is involved in a DIEP reconstruction procedure.
During the procedure, your breast surgeon will remove the surplus skin and fat from the abdomen and attach it carefully to the breast area. They will then connect the donor tissue blood vessels to the existing blood vessels in the recipient site to enable natural blood flow. As a second step, the surgeon will tighten the abdominal skin and close the incisions with sutures. Temporary drain tubes will be placed beneath the skin in the newly created breast to collect excess fluid.
Advantages of DIEP Flap Breast Reconstruction
- More natural looking breast appearance than implants
- Breast tissue feels soft and more natural to touch
- Abdominal integrity is maintained because no muscles are removed
- Less discomfort and safer recovery compared to TRAM flap
- Minimal risk of complications such as abdominal hernia
- Longer lasting results because no implant replacements needed
- Flatter and firmer abdominal contour
- Less risk, less pain, and less recovery time
The general benefits with any type of breast reconstruction are also available with DIEP flap reconstruction. Your feminine curvaceous figure will be restored. The breasts will appear more symmetrical and attractive. You will feel more confident to wear tight clothes or swimwear.
Recovery and Results
Post-operative recovery will have both physical and emotional aspects following a DIEP flap breast reconstruction surgery. Compared to an implant procedure, the flap techniques usually take longer time for tissue healing because two body areas are involved (breast and abdomen). If you choose to have nipple reconstruction as well, the recovery may take additional time.
In general, patients are able to return to their normal activities in about 10 to 14 days after the cosmetic surgery. However, you should continue to avoid strenuous activities at home and workplace for about two months. The results are more natural looking and ideally suited for women who have naturally smaller breasts, or require the reconstruction only in one breast.
Cosmetic surgeon Dr. Peter Koltz receives patients from Toledo, Maumee, Northwest Ohio, Southeastern Michigan, and nearby areas for DIEP flap breast reconstruction surgery.