A recent study by the American Cancer Society (ACS) revealed that breast cancer is one of the most prevalent cancers experienced by American women. The ACS project that about 246,600 women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer and that there will be 61,000 new cases of non-invasive breast cancer (CIS) in United States for 2016.
Breast cancer, and any type of cancer for that matter, is truly a life changing experience. Thankfully, the latest innovations in technology as well as the research and development of new medications have allowed more people to survive different types of cancer. Surviving cancer, however, does not end when you are done with your treatment and the cancer has been cleared from your system, because this just marks the beginning of your journey.
Losing a breast, or at times both breasts, can be depressing for breast cancer survivors. Aside from feeling incomplete, breasts are highly associated with a woman’s beauty or attractiveness, which makes breast cancer survivors feel less secure about their appearance and relationships.
Breast Reconstruction Associates is devoted to helping breast cancer survivors improve the quality of their lives by offering the best breast construction options available. Our team of well-experienced microsurgical reconstruction surgeons are experts with the use of perforator flaps, such as DIEP, SIEA, TUG, PAP and GAP flaps, for breast reconstruction.
The DIEP Flap procedure has gained a significant following over the past years, because of the many advantages that it offers breast cancer survivors. The procedure is quite complex, though, and therefore only a few breast centers, such as Breast Reconstruction Associates, are capable to perform it.
The DIEP breast reconstruction procedure uses the patient’s abdominal skin, tissue and fat in order to reconstruct a natural breast after mastectomy. The use of your own body tissue will give your reconstructed breast a natural look and feel. Your new breast will also mature and change as you do, since it is a natural part of your body.
The problem with using implants in breast reconstruction is that there is always a risk of implant rupture, infection or what is called capsular contracture. Since the DIEP Flap procedure involves natural tissues from your own body, maintenance becomes minimal, unlike with implant based breast reconstruction methods.
The duration of DIEP flap breast reconstruction surgery can be between six to twelve hours, depending on the type of surgery you are given. Unilateral DIEP can be done at an average of six to eight hours and the bilateral DIEP can last ten to twelve hours. DIEP Flap surgery can only be performed by experienced microsurgeons, because the procedure requires advanced technical skills in order to dissect the blood vessels from the rectus muscle and reconnect them to the breast area. This is why only a few breast centers are able to offer the DIEP flap procedure to their patients.
The DIEP Flap procedure also offers better recovery time for patients. You will be able to get back to your regular daily routine in as quick as 4 to 6 weeks after the surgery. The procedure is also less painful than other flap-based breast reconstruction methods, since the rectus (abdominal) muscle is spared and only the tissue and fat are taken for the surgery.
Although breast reconstruction surgery can improve the quality of life for breast cancer survivors, there are still many adjustments that you and the people close to you will have to go through after all the treatments are done. Breast cancer has a lot of emotional effects, even after having survived the worse, and it has a strong effect on a woman’s view on her body image and sexuality. Aside from turning to your family and close friends for support, there are many support groups that you can join to help you deal with it.
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