Understanding DIEP Flap Breast Reconstruction

Do you have questions about DIEP flap breast reconstruction? Your Fort Worth breast reconstruction specialists are here to help.

DIEP flap, an acronym for deep inferior epigastric perforator flap, is a state-of-the-art procedure performed by a very select group of surgeons. This procedure uses the fatty tissue, blood vessels, and skin, of the abdomen to recreate the breast.

During surgery

During the DIEP flap procedure, an incision is made along the abdomen and some fat, blood vessels, and skin is removed from the lower half of the abdomen, transported to your chest, and made into a new breast. During a DIEP flap procedure, no muscle is cut or moved.

The blood vessels in the chest are matched to the minuscule blood vessels in the flap and are meticulously attached. The procedure takes about six to eight hours.

After DIEP flap reconstruction surgery:

You will be moved to the recovery right after the DIEP flap procedure, and the hospital staff will carefully monitor your body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure. You will then be moved to your hospital room, where your doctor will give you detailed recovery instructions.

Like any other abdominal surgery, you may find it painful or hard to sit up, get up, and get moving. Getting in and out of bed may be quite difficult to do. Talk to your physical therapist and your doctor – they can show you how to move until you are fully recovered. If you need any form of pain medication, discuss with your doctor.

It’s essential that you take all the time you need to heal. Keep your doctor’s advice in mind, he will know when it’s best for you to start stretching exercises and when you can resume your normal activities. During the healing phase, it is normally recommended that you avoid strenuous sports, sexual intercourse, and lifting heavy objects for about six weeks after breast reconstruction.

As with any abdominal surgery, you may find that it’s difficult or painful to sit down or get up from a sitting position. It also might be hard to get in and out of bed. Your doctor or physical therapist can show you how to move until your abdominal area heals. If you are experiencing pain, ask your doctor about medications you can take.

It will most likely take a year for your tissues to heal completely, and by the time your scars start to fade, you may opt to get additional finishing touches done, like reconstructing a nipple or reshaping a flap. For more information, get in touch with us at Breast Reconstruction Associates, your Fort Worth breast reconstruction experts.