Breast reconstruction is a surgical procedure that restores shape to your breast after a mastectomy — surgery that removes your breast to treat or prevent breast cancer. Breast reconstruction with flap surgery involves taking a section of tissue from one area of your body — most often your abdomen — and relocating it to create a new breast mound. Breast reconstruction with flap surgery is a complex procedure performed by a plastic surgeon.
The DIEP flap breast reconstruction is today's most advanced form of breast reconstruction. The procedure uses the patient's lower abdominal skin and fat to reconstruct a breast after mastectomy but unlike the TRAM flap procedure, preserves all the abdominal muscles. When considering DIEP flap breast reconstruction, a big concern for many patients is post-operative pain.
A DIEP flap is a type of breast reconstruction in which blood vessels called deep inferior epigastric perforators DIEPas well as the skin and fat connected to them, are removed from the lower abdomen and transferred to the chest to reconstruct a breast after mastectomy without the sacrifice of any of the abdominal muscles. Unlike in the TRAM procedure, however, no muscle is sacrificed. The DIEP flap—like the TRAM flap—requires an incision into the abdominal rectus muscleas the blood vessels, or perforators, required to keep the tissue alive lie just beneath or within this muscle.
Jump to content. Once you have decided that breast reconstruction is right for you, a specialty surgeon from U of M will discuss your surgical options and help you choose a procedure best for your body type and personal goals. Using your tissue instead of implants typically makes for more natural results and avoids unique complications associated with breast implants.
Breast reconstruction after mastectomy has increased dramatically over the past 30 years. DIEP breast reconstruction DIEP, pronounced "deep," stands for d eep i nferior e pigastric p erforators, which are blood vessels is a reconstructive procedure that represents one of the most advanced forms of breast reconstruction now available. The surgery uses the patient's own abdominal skin and fat to reconstruct a natural, warm, soft breast after mastectomy.
The DIEP deep inferior epigastric perforator flap was first described in by a Japanese microsurgeon. But, it wasn't until when Robert Allen reported that he had applied this flap to breast reconstruction that it was demonstrated what a big advantage the DIEP was over the TRAM flap. Allen was the first to recognize the benefits of this kind of reconstruction, and along with the Belgian surgeon Philipe Blondeel, he convinced a number of microsurgeons that the extra time, care and skill needed for this surgery was well worth the effort.
Breast reconstruction using your own tissue without the use of implants is called autologous referring to your own tissue flap surgery. Not every woman is a candidate for this type of breast reconstruction, and it is best to discuss the pros and cons of these procedures with your surgeon. The flap is then transferred to the chest where the surgeon, aided by a microscope, will attach the donor tissue blood vessels to the chest blood vessels and reconstruct the breast.
The DIEP flap is the technique where skin and tissue no muscle is taken from the abdomen in order to recreate the breast. This flap may be preferable to the older TRAM procedurewhere women are prohibited from lifting anything weighing more than 25 lbs. This is a good option for women who might need post-mastectomy radiation therapy.
The photographs included on this page are the results of reconstructive procedures performed by the surgeons at the Center for Restorative Breast Surgery. A muscle-sparing free TRAM flap uses a small amount of muscle. A DIEP flap is considered a muscle-sparing type of flap.
Breast cancer patients have many options when it comes to reconstructive surgery after a mastectomy. In recent years, Fox Chase Cancer Center has begun to offer patients a newer option for breast reconstruction that uses lower abdominal tissues to reconstruct one or both breasts with fewer side effects than other techniques. Called the DIEP flap procedure, the approach transplants the skin, fat and tissue that are connected to the deep interior epigastric perforator DIEP artery.