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Four Questions to Ask Your Plastic Surgeon About DIEP Flap Reconstruction


Posted September 09, 2021 in DIEP Flap Reconstruction | 3 minute read

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DIEP flap reconstruction is a complex procedure that can be very rewarding. This advanced surgery is designed to rebuild breast tissue after mastectomy due to cancer. Before committing to this technique or another in Houston, West Houston, or Katy, TX, it’s understandable to have questions about the process. 

When it comes to any breast reconstruction surgery, it helps to be aware of the basics as well as potential benefits and risks. Here, board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Warren Ellsworth will cover our four most common FAQ about DIEP flap reconstruction. Read below or call our team at Ellsworth Plastic Surgery to schedule your breast rejuvenation assessment. 

1. What is DIEP flap reconstruction? 

The DIEP (deep inferior epigastric perforator) flap transfers fat, skin, and blood vessels from the lower abdomen to the breast for the purpose of reconstruction. It’s usually performed after mastectomy or breast tissue removal. For some people, DIEP reconstructive surgery is ideal because it doesn’t involve synthetic breast implants. Instead, Dr. Ellsworth uses your own natural tissue where there are no cancerous cells. 

The DIEP flap technique is one of the most requested ways to rebuild new tissue after cancer. Our breast rejuvenation patients prefer this method of reconstruction because it keeps the muscle and abdominal wall in place. This decreases your risk of post-surgery complications, like a hernia. 

2. How does DIEP flap help breast cancer patients? 

Breast cancer patients tend to feel a sense of loss after mastectomy. They may feel embarrassed or less feminine without the look or feel of natural breasts. Breast cancer reconstruction allows women to regain fuller or more symmetrical breasts and a positive body image once again. 

While solutions like breast implants can be a great option for women in Houston, West Houston, and Katy, TX, they aren’t the best fit for everyone. This is because implants may cause future complications, like rippling and capsular contraction. DIEP flap surgery is ideal for patients who simply want to restore their look. 

3. What should I expect during DIEP flap recovery? 

Breast cancer reconstruction is performed in stages, so recovery may look different for everyone. Some patients may require an overnight stay after surgery and a longer recovery period if they need more time to heal. Once the final step is completed, you will likely wear a support garment and be given medication to help with side effects, like swelling and inflammation. Your breasts will continue to look more natural as the swelling goes down. 

4. What are the risks of breast cancer reconstruction? 

No procedure is without risks. While complications are rare, they may occur after DIEP flap surgery.  Some possible complications include bleeding, infection, or wound healing issues.  While rare, the team at Ellsworth Plastic Surgery is ready to handle whatever challenge comes your way.  Dr. Ellsworth can also offer ways to reduce your risk of complications and make sure your time in recovery is both safe and successful.

Breast rejuvenation surgery 

It’s normal to have questions if you’re considering DIEP flap reconstruction in Houston, West Houston, or Katy, TX. We recommend voicing your concerns during a comprehensive consultation with Dr. Warren Ellsworth. Our team is proud to have extensive training and experience with this procedure and can walk you through the process in full. Learn about breast cancer reconstruction by calling Ellsworth Plastic Surgery for your appointment today.

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