After a mastectomy, many women feel that they have lost an essential part of their identity. Breast reconstruction surgery is often the answer to this problem, with techniques like DIEP flap surgery becoming popular among patients who want a natural-looking breast contour. 

In this article, you will learn how DIEP flap surgery is performed and its benefits compared to other techniques.

Let’s get to it.

woman preparing for breast surgery

Methods of Breast Reconstruction After Mastectomy

There are two ways a plastic surgeon can perform breast reconstruction. One way is to use a tissue expander with a permanent implant. The other is by using autologous tissue, or the tissue from other body parts, to rebuild the breast. 

Using a breast tissue expander and breast implant

During a mastectomy, the surgeon will insert an empty implant under the skin. Once the breasts are healed, the surgeon will pump water or gas into the implant to gently stretch and expand the tissue under the breast. 

It could take 6 to 8 weeks before your skin stretches to the size that you desire. Once you’ve achieved the size you want, your doctor will stop pumping gas or water, and you’ll be ready for a permanent implant. 

Using autologous tissue

Another way to reconstruct the breasts is through autologous tissue. This process is known as  “flap” reconstruction. This procedure uses tissue or fat from another body part to rebuild the breast. 

Doctors have developed several breast reconstruction techniques using autologous tissues. Each technique takes tissue or fat from certain parts of the body. DIEP, SIAM, and TRAM flaps use tissue from various parts of the abdomen and belly. Other techniques, like the IGAP flap, use tissue from the hips and buttocks. 

Reasons to Choose DIEP Flap Reconstruction Surgery

DIEP Flap reconstruction surgery uses tissue from the lower abdomen to reconstruct the breast. The added benefit of losing stubborn belly fat is appealing to most patients. But there are more reasons women choose DIEP flap surgery. 

Here are 5 reasons why:

Reduced Risk of Implant-related complications

DIEP Flap Surgery does not require the use of an implant so there is no risk of implant-related complications.  Ruptured implants, change in the breast contour, and connective tissue damages are just three of the complications that have been reported. 

Preserves the abdominal muscles

Because tissue from the abdomen is used in a DIEP flap surgery, patients get the added benefit of a tummy tuck. When performed by an expert surgeon, no abdominal muscle is used in this technique.  This means the patient preserves abdominal muscle tone, and recovery is also faster. 

Gives you a more natural breast contour

Since the tissue used in the surgery comes from your own body, it will have the same characteristics as natural breast tissue. The surgery can also be used to correct any asymmetry between the two breasts.

Improves your self-esteem and body image

The results of DIEP flap surgery can be very natural-looking and can greatly improve your self-esteem and body image. Still, because the tissue is removed from the belly, the surgery will leave you with a long scar from hipbone to hipbone. 

Sensation in the reconstructed breast

Nerves from the abdominal tissue are transferred and carefully attached to the nerves in the breast tissue, allowing patients to regain sensation. With silicone implants, on the other hand, you can regain sensation but it’s usually very minimal. 

Get a DIEP Flap for a Natural-looking Breast Contour

Aside from fast recovery time, and the added benefit of a tummy tuck, patients appreciate the natural-looking breast contour from a DIEP Flap. If you’re considering breast reconstruction, get in touch with Elite Plastic Surgery today. We’ll answer any questions about DIEP flap surgery and get you started on the journey back to a whole new you. 

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