Fighting breast cancer involves chemotherapy, radiation, and sometimes a mastectomy. If you need breast reconstruction after a mastectomy due to breast cancer, there are options, including the DIEP flap breast reconstruction procedure.
What is the DIEP flap breast reconstruction procedure?
This procedure uses your own tissue to recreate a breast after a mastectomy. The DIEP flap is short for deep inferior epigastric perforator flap. This type of flap uses skin and fat from your lower abdomen to reconstruct your breast. Unlike other flap procedures, it preserves all the muscles in your lower abdomen.
Who is a good candidate for DIEP flap breast reconstruction?
Many cancer survivors are good candidates for this type of breast reconstruction, especially if they:
- Have had a mastectomy
- Do not want implants
- Have enough extra skin and fat in their lower abdomen
- Willing to have surgery on your lower abdomen
- Do not have any medical conditions that would make this type of surgery risky
What are the benefits of DIEP flap breast reconstruction?
There are many benefits to this type of breast reconstruction, including:
- Using your own tissue so there is no risk of implant rejection
- Lower chance of capsular contracture, which is a hardening of the breast around an implant
- Shorter surgery time
- Shorter hospital stay
- Quicker recovery time
If you are considering DIEP flap breast reconstruction, talk to your doctor to see if it is the right option for you.
Which is better, DIEP flap or implants?
There are pros and cons to both DIEP flap breast reconstruction and implants. The key difference, however, is what happens if the cancer returns. With DIEP flap breast reconstruction, you can immediately work with your oncologist on a treatment plan. If you have silicon or saline implants, however, it is recommended that they be removed before you can undergo radiation treatment because the radiation can have adverse effects on the implants.
How successful is DIEP flap reconstruction?
The DIEP flap is a very successful type of breast reconstruction. The National Institutes of Health report that the DIEP flap breast reconstruction procedure is the "international gold standard in breast reconstructive surgery" and boasts a success rate of greater than 97 percent.
Does insurance cover DIEP flap surgery?
Most insurance companies cover DIEP flap surgery as it is considered a reconstructive procedure. However, you should check with your insurance company to see if you have coverage.
The DIEP flap breast reconstruction procedure is a safe and effective way to reconstruct your breast after a mastectomy. If you are considering DIEP flap breast reconstruction, talk to your doctor to see if it is the right option for you.