Breast reconstruction options include the use of implants as well as the use of one’s own tissues. Each option has unique advantages and considerations. Methods that utilize tissue from another part of your body to create a new breast mound are known as autologous or “flap” reconstructions. DIEP Flap is one autologous technique that tends to offer significant benefits, such as a potentially more natural looking and feeling outcome and long-lasting results, often avoiding implants, and an improvement in abdominal contour.
Dr. Jay Orringer offers a wide variety of breast reconstruction options, including DIEP Flap. He is a double board-certified plastic surgeon with more than 30 years of breast reconstruction experience. While newer generation breast implants provide a good option for many, it is important to explore the variety of breast reconstruction options available prior to mastectomy.
If you have been diagnosed with a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation, face other high-risk conditions, have breast cancer, or have already had a mastectomy, please consider scheduling a caring and individualized consultation with Dr. Orringer. We proudly welcome patients from Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Hollywood, Newport Beach, and Northern California, as well as nationally and internationally.
- What is a DIEP Flap Breast Reconstruction?
- Advantages of DIEP Flap Breast Reconstruction
- Potential DIEP Flap Candidates
- Your DIEP Flap Consultation
- What to Expect from Your DIEP Flap Procedure and Recovery
- Why Choose Dr. Orringer?
- Schedule Your Beverly Hills Consultation
What is a DIEP Flap Breast Reconstruction?
A DIEP (Deep Inferior Epigastric Perforator) Flap is a type of autologous tissue breast reconstruction (one that uses the patient’s own tissue). For this technique, the breast is created from excess tissue taken from the lower abdominal wall. This tissue is ideal because it is very similar in feel and appearance to breast tissue. Some women, especially after pregnancy, have enough excess tissue on the abdomen that can be used to form one or two new breasts.
During a DIEP Flap reconstruction, the tissue normally discarded with a tummy tuck is transferred to the chest wall, where blood vessels are re-attached under the microscope. The tissue is then shaped, often resulting in a natural looking and feeling new breast. To complete the procedure, a tummy tuck like closure is done on the abdominal wall.
Many autologous reconstruction techniques, including DIEP Flap, require advanced training and expertise in microsurgery. Dr. Orringer completed a microsurgical fellowship at NYU and has been doing microsurgical breast reconstruction procedures for more than thirty years.
Advantages of DIEP Flap Breast Reconstruction
In addition to potentially providing the most natural-looking and feeling breast reconstruction, a DIEP Flap may eliminate the need for implant replacement procedures in the future by avoiding the use of implants entirely. Even if a small implant is necessary, the breast still tends to look and feel more natural when it is covered by your own tissue.
Furthermore, women requiring breast reconstruction, who have considered a tummy tuck, frequently enjoy the new appearance of their tummy after removal of the excess skin and fat. DIEP Flap surgery often creates a smoother and slimmer abdominal profile.
The DIEP Flap technique is often appropriate for women who have special considerations. For example, women who have had unsatisfactory or failed implant reconstructions, or those who have had chest wall radiation, may achieve a more natural and durable long-term breast reconstruction with the use of their own DIEP Flap tissue. In addition, those women who have had issues with implants or desire to have their implants removed may benefit from this approach.
Unlike other more traditional techniques which have used skin and fat from the abdomen in the past, a DIEP Flap does not involve muscle removal. Therefore, patients often experience a shorter recovery period than older approaches that involved muscle transfer or removal.
Who are Good Potential Candidates for DIEP Flap Breast Reconstructions?
A consultation is necessary to evaluate your candidacy for DIEP Flap breast reconstruction. You may be a DIEP Flap candidate if you:
- Are generally in good overall health
- Have excess skin and fat of the abdominal wall
- Are done child-bearing
- Have a desire to replace or avoid breast implants and associated implant maintenance
- Prefer a potentially more natural feeling and appearing breast reconstruction
- Have not had a previous tummy tuck
- Have had implant failure due to previous infection, poor healing, or radiation
- Require a delayed reconstruction, particularly after radiation
- Desire removal of implants and potentially eliminate implant maintenance
Dr. Orringer believes in the team approach to breast cancer, which involves bringing together a multidisciplinary group of medical professionals at the beginning of your breast cancer journey. This approach, when implemented prior to mastectomy, may facilitate improved patient outcomes. Dr. Orringer will work with you and the rest of your team to determine if a DIEP flap may be an appropriate option for your situation.
Your DIEP Flap Consultation with Dr. Orringer
If you are considering any type of breast reconstruction, including DIEP Flap, please schedule an individualized consultation at our welcoming Beverly Hills practice. The appointment is an excellent way to learn more about breast reconstruction options and receive personalized recommendations from Dr. Orringer.
The initial consultation will involve a review of your medical history, education regarding the various options available, and a physical examination. Before you arrive, consider writing down any questions you may already have. Dr. Orringer will attempt to provide a thorough discussion as he educates you regarding a variety of breast reconstruction options.
Dr. Orringer is committed to patient education and helping you feel comfortable with whatever option you may choose. This consultation is an excellent opportunity to get answers from a surgeon who is board-certified in both Plastic and General Surgery and fellowship trained in Microsurgery.
What to Expect From Your DIEP Flap Procedure and Recovery
DIEP Flap surgery is performed as an inpatient procedure. The surgery is completed under general anesthesia, and you will be carefully monitored by a physician anesthesiologist.
You will likely need to stay in the hospital for several days after your DIEP Flap procedure. This is to ensure your comfort and safety. The length of hospital stay varies, but is typically 3-4 evenings while monitoring of the new breast is done and initial healing occurs.
Patients are encouraged to be out of bed and to ambulate usually on the first day following surgery. Walking and gentle movements can help facilitate healing. While recoveries vary, most patients begin to drive by about two weeks and resume most normal activities by about four weeks.
Why Choose Dr. Orringer
Dr. Orringer is certified by both the American Board of Plastic Surgery and the American Board of Surgery and is fellowship trained in Microsurgery. He believes that his having a broad knowledge of breast disease is beneficial to his patients and, therefore, he has maintained his boards in General Surgery for three decades.
Dr. Orringer served his nine-year surgical training at the University of Michigan, UCLA and NYU Affiliated Hospitals. His microsurgical fellowship at NYU largely concentrated on complex microsurgical breast reconstruction, and he has been doing microsurgical, as well as implant based, breast reconstructions for more than thirty years.
Dr. Orringer is internationally recognized and believes in an individualized and compassionate patient-centered approach. Each procedure is tailored to address the unique considerations and concerns of every patient. Dr. Orringer and his staff are dedicated to providing you with a personalized, professional, and caring experience.
Schedule Your Beverly Hills Consultation
If you might require prophylactic (preventative) mastectomy or mastectomy due to cancer, or require revision of an existing reconstruction, please contact us to schedule your individualized breast reconstruction consultation with Dr. Orringer today. He will be happy to discuss both DIEP flap and implant breast reconstruction options. We proudly welcome patients from Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Hollywood, Newport Beach, and Northern California, as well as nationally and internationally.