Am I a Candidate for DIEP Flap Breast Reconstruction?

Board-Certified Plastic Surgeons Serving Denver, Lone Tree, Colorado & Nationwide

Posted: June 15, 2018

An increasing number of women are pursuing breast reconstruction to restore the shape and appearance of one or both of their breasts. DIEP flap breast reconstruction is an innovative technique that can help women achieve results that look and feel natural. There are several factors to consider that may affect your candidacy for this procedure.

What is DIEP Flap Breast Reconstruction?

DIEP flap is a method of autologous tissue breast reconstruction. This means that your own tissue is used to recreate your breast. The DIEP flap procedure removes a flap of skin, fat, and blood vessels from the lower portion of your abdomen. This flap contains its own blood supply which allows it to be attached to the blood vessels in your chest using microsurgery. This type of microsurgery is highly skilled and less than 5 percent of plastic surgeons perform it. Our plastic surgeons are proud to have performed more than 500 DIEP flap procedures.

The benefits of DIEP flap include:

  • The reconstructed breast has a natural look and feel
  • The results are long-lasting
  • The removal of tissue from the lower abdomen can provide results similar to a tummy tuck
  • It can be used to reconstruct breasts after implant removal
  • It leaves muscle from the abdomen unaffected, unlike some other flap creation methods

Woman smiling after DIEP flap breast reconstruction in DenverThere are several breast reconstruction methods that utilize the creation of a flap. However, they differ in the area of the body that the flap is removed from. For example, the procedure utilizes excess tissue from the inner thigh and the SGAP flap procedure removes tissue from the buttocks. Our board-certified reconstructive surgeons at The Breast Center Park Meadows Cosmetic Surgery can help you determine the right procedure for you. The DIEP flap procedure is often preferred because of the quality of the results and the minimal impact on the abdominal area.

DIEP Flap Candidacy

Your candidacy for DIEP flap can be determined through a consultation with our surgeons. Generally speaking, you may be a candidate for DIEP flap if you:

  • Have excess tissue in your lower abdominals.
  • Want results that typically look and feel more natural than implants.
  • Have realistic expectations for the procedure and are aware of the potential risks.
  • Are getting breast reconstruction for the first time.
  • Wish to have your previously placed implants removed and have your breast reconstructed with your own tissue.

Please be prepared to discuss your history of the following with our surgeons:

  • Any additional medical conditions that may impair healing
  • Any previous abdominal surgeries

Tissue can only be removed from your lower abdominals once for the purpose of breast reconstruction. This is an important consideration to keep in mind if you are considering prophylactic (preventative) removal and reconstruction of your other breast. You may want to make this decision before you proceed with DIEP flap reconstruction.

If you have the DIEP flap procedure on one breast and decide to pursue reconstruction on the other breast at a later time, the flap tissue will need to come from another location on your body. In this situation, you may also choose to have reconstruction with an implant instead of removing tissue from a new location.

DIEP Flap vs Implants

The method of breast reconstruction that you choose is a very personal decision. Women may choose DIEP flap over implants for a variety of reasons, including:

  • To achieve results often look and feel more natural
  • To avoid potential implant complications

However, there are also several reasons why women may choose implant reconstruction. For example, some women do not have enough excess tissue to accommodate the creation of a flap. The DIEP flap surgery is also longer than implant reconstruction and may have a longer recovery time.

Our surgeons can discuss your goals and preferences to help determine what method of reconstruction is best for you.

Schedule Your DIEP Flap Consultation

The board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeons at The Breast Center Park Meadows Cosmetic Surgery are among the few surgeons in the country who perform DIEP flap, due to the training and skill required. Our highly trained surgeons work together to perform every DIEP flap procedure to provide the highest level of care possible.

Schedule your DIEP flap consultation today at 720-457-4461. Dr. Christopher Williams and Dr. Jeremy Williams are privileged to care for women in Denver, Lone Tree, and nearby areas of Colorado.