Breast Reconstruction: The DIEP Flap Method

For those who have lost substantial breast tissue due to a mastectomy or other breast cancer treatment that included the removal of one or both breasts, reconstructive surgery is a popular option. Breasts can be reconstructed through the use of an implant to shape the breast, or the breast can be naturally “rebuilt” using the patient’s tissue.

The DIEP flap is a type of breast reconstruction technique that recreates the breast by using the patient’s own skin, fat and blood vessels. This natural method is the preferred breast reconstruction procedure performed in the United States today. Since the DIEP flap incorporates natural tissue, this reconstruction method creates warm, soft, natural breasts that last for many years.

During the surgery, tissue is skillfully removed from the lower portion of the patient’s belly, between the waist and hips. The detached tissue is then reattached to the chest area. DIEP flap is a microsurgery, because a microscope is used during the connection of the delicate blood vessels as the tissue is resituated.

This transfer of tissue to the chest area allows the surgeon to create a new breast mound. If the mastectomy involved nipple removal, the patient can additionally undergo a nipple reconstruction procedure several months following their DIEP flap surgery.

Those contemplating whether to choose between breast implants or the DIEP flap method should be aware that implants are a faster procedure with a quicker recovery and less down time than the DIEP flap. Nipple reconstruction can also be performed in combination with the breast implant procedure.

However, patients should also consider the fact that using one’s own tissue is a more natural procedure, and that once the DIEP flap has healed, it has a lower rate of complications, along with a lower risk of requiring corrective surgery than breast implants.

Since each type of breast reconstruction procedure carries its own specific set of risks, it’s important to consult with an experienced, board-certified plastic surgeon about which type of procedure will best suit your needs, as well as your aesthetic expectations. Dr. Orseck would be happy to answer any of your questions or concerns, and will discuss each procedure with you.

DEIP Flap Surgery in South Carolina

If you are interested in learning more about various breast reconstruction options, please contact us online to schedule an appointment. Our office in Spartanburg, SC, can be reached at 864-560-6717, while our office in Greer, SC, can be reached at 864-849-9330. We look forward to hearing from you.


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