What is a DIEP flap?
DIEP stands for deep inferior epigastric perforator artery. This artery is an artery that runs through the abdomen. This artery is particular significant because in a DIEP flap, this blood vessel, together with the flap, fat, and skin of the abdomen, is moved up to the chest to rebuild the breast.
This means that the DIEP flap is a breast reconstruction surgery technique wherein skin and tissue (excluding the muscle) is taken from the abdomen to recreate the breast that has been removed after a mastectomy.
What are the considerations that I need to make in choosing a hospital or a reconstructive surgeon?
Do take note that not all hospitals offer the DIEP procedure. In fact, this kind of procedure is relatively new in the world of plastic surgery, which is one of the reasons why only selected hospitals and selected doctors are currently offering it.
Another reason why not all hospitals offer the DIEP procedure is that that it is a highly specialized type of surgery. This procedure requires a doctor with a special surgical training, as well as an expertise in microsurgery in order to perform it. This is because the blood vessels of the flap from the abdomen need to be carefully attached to the blood vessels in the chest – and this is a rather complicated procedure, and it can only be performed through microsurgery.
And so, primary considerations in choosing a hospital or a set of doctors include two critical factors: first, the hospital or the set of doctors need to have access to the right technology for such a delicate procedure; and second, the doctors who will perform the procedure must have undergone a specialized training and must have specialized experience with the procedure.
Another consideration to make is the post-operative care provided by hospital. After the operation, you may be required to stay in the hospital for about three or four days. You may also be given certain activity restrictions to help you heal and get better at the soonest possible time.
There are also some complications that must be watched out for, such as tissue necrosis, which occurs when the tissue in your reconstructed breast are unable to get enough circulation, in which case the tissue dies. Such complications must be given immediate attention and effective care.
Therefore, your hospital of choice, together with its doctors and staff, must be able to provide an environment that is conducive for your speedy recuperation.
It would also be a good idea to have a hospital that offers counseling sessions post-op. If your hospital of choice offers such a service, then this is a big plus. This way, you can be seen and counseled when it comes to any questions, or even any psychological trauma that you may have gone through, throughout the time of your mastectomy, to the time of your breast reconstruction. After all, there are studies that show that the emotional outcomes of women after breast surgery are highly individualized.
If you are looking for a group of doctors who can provide you with the DIEP flap breast reconstruction procedure, consider Breast Reconstruction Associates. They are a team of expert doctors with specialized experience in the field.
To learn more about Breast Reconstruction Associates, visit their website at http://txdiepflap.com/.
Related Reads on Breast Reconstruction Associates Dallas Breast Reconstruction Blog:
- Advantages and Disadvantages of DIEP Flap
- Dr. Habash as a Plastic Surgeon from His Patients
- Nipple and Areola Reconstruction after Mastectomy