Many women prefer to use their own body’s tissues to reconstruct a damaged breast, rather than using breast implants. Tissue can be transferred to the breast using a free tissue transfer known as a DIEP flap breast reconstruction. Charleston, SC residents have the DIEP as an option for breast reconstruction at O’Neill Plastic Surgery. The DIEP flap is gaining popularity because it has many benefits over traditionally used reconstructive techniques.
The DIEP flap (deep inferior epigastric perforator) is a perforator flap procedure that uses fat and skin from your abdomen to create a new breast mound after a mastectomy. This procedure takes its name from the deep inferior epigastric perforator artery in your lower abdomen and is a form of autologous reconstruction, meaning that your body’s own tissues are used to reconstruct the breast.
The incision is made along the bikini line, much like the incision used for a tummy tuck. The skin, soft tissue, and feeding blood vessels are taken free from the abdomen and moved to the breast position. The blood vessels in the tissue flap are matched to supplying vessels at the mastectomy site and reattached under a microscope.
The main benefit of the DIEP versus the TRAM procedure is that a DIEP does not sacrifice the muscles of the abdominal wall. This preserves the strength of the abdominal wall and avoids the need for implanted mesh. A secondary benefit is that the results in the lower abdomen are very similar to tummy tuck results, often significantly improving the abdominal contours.
Women who have the DIEP flap reconstruction procedure may desire a “touch up” operation at a later date to achieve breast symmetry and/or to reconstruct the nipple(s).
Dr. O’Neill and his staff are committed to working with you and the other members of your health care team to ensure that you receive all of the information you need to make the best decision regarding your breast reconstruction procedure. Charleston area breast cancer patients can benefit from Dr. O’Neill’s guidance, surgical experience and commitment to patient education as you and your loved ones explore all of your surgical options. Call our plastic surgery office at 843-881-2130 or contact us online.