Board-Certified Plastic Surgeons Serving Denver & Lone Tree, Colorado
DIEP flap is a procedure that uses tissue from your lower abdomen to rebuild one or both of your breasts. It can be performed as an alternative to implant-based reconstruction or combined with that surgery. While it is often difficult to find surgeons trained in this approach, the natural-looking and feeling results it can create are well worth the effort for many patients.
Is DIEP Flap Surgery Preferable Over Implants?
Some patients prefer DIEP flap surgery over implant-based reconstruction. Because it uses your own skin and fat to recreate your breast mound, your results will resemble breast tissue.
DIEP flap reconstruction can also be preferable over implants in the radiation setting. Radiation therapy can cause skin thinning, capsular contracture, implant failure, and other complications.
Additionally, DIEP flap surgery has the added benefit of improving your abdominal contour. It removes excess skin and fat in a way that creates results similar to a tummy tuck procedure.
Finally, DIEP flap reconstruction tends to have better longevity than implant reconstruction. Breast implants are not intended to last a lifetime. They may need to be removed and replaced.
Will the Results From My DIEP Flap Look Natural?
DIEP flap results can look very natural. Often, DIEP flap avoids issues that are sometimes associated with breast implants, such as unnatural movement during exercise and symmastia.
Secondary breast surgeries can further enhance your results. We offer options such as fat grafting, areola and nipple tattooing, and nipple reconstruction. Other adjustments may include placing an implant, performing a breast lift, or reducing the size of the non-cancer breast.
How Can I Prepare for DIEP Flap Surgery?
The steps to prepare for DIEP flap can vary depending on the situation. In general, you should:
- Stop smoking at least one month before surgery
- Discontinue blood-thinning medications and supplements two weeks before surgery
- Report any sign of an infection or cold that shows up the week prior to your surgery
- Fill your prescriptions and bring them with you on the day of your surgery
- Request time off work and clear your social calendar for the recovery
- Arrange for help around home and transportation after your procedure
- Stock your fridge with healthy meals that require minimal preparation
Are There Any Risks From DIEP Flap Surgery?
All surgical procedures carry risk. Some potential complications of DIEP flap surgery include fat necrosis, partial or total flap loss, infection, post-operative hernia, seroma, and hematoma.
Visiting an experienced provider who is skilled in microsurgery will reduce your risk of problems. Our board-certified surgeons are regional leaders in breast reconstruction and have a DIEP flap success rate of over 99%. Patients travel to us from across the state and country for their care.
What Is Recovery Like After Surgery?
DIEP flap recovery is lengthier and more involved than recovering from implant-based reconstruction. After all, DIEP flap reconstruction involves surgery on your abdominal area.
95% of our patients are discharged on the 2nd post-operative day. The average hospital stay with other DIEP flap surgeons is 4-5 days. Once you return home, you can expect swelling in the reconstructed breast, underarm, and abdomen. You will need to wear an abdominal binder.
You can find more post-operative care instructions for DIEP flap reconstruction on our website.
Schedule a DIEP Flap Consultation in Lone Tree
Our board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeons are among a small group of providers who offer DIEP flap. We have performed hundreds of these procedures over the years.