How Long Will it Take to Recover from My DIEP Flap Surgery?

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

Posted: December 15, 2022
Authored by:

Female Body In White Panties And Breast BandagesDIEP flap surgery is an autologous breast reconstruction technique that takes excess tissue from the lower belly to rebuild your breasts after a mastectomy or lumpectomy. If you’re interested in a method that provides lifelong results, DIEP flap doesn’t require eventual replacement, unlike implant-based reconstruction.

At The Breast Center Park Meadows Cosmetic Surgery, our board-certified plastic surgeons are among approximately 60 providers in the United States who perform the procedure. Our practice has worked with hundreds of breast cancer survivors to achieve a natural-looking and feeling outcome.

How Should You Prepare for DIEP Flap Recovery?

DIEP flap surgery might be performed immediately after your mastectomy. It can also be performed as a staged procedure with a tissue expander placed at that time. For cancer survivors who choose to forego reconstruction at the time of their treatment, DIEP flap can also be performed years after your recovery.

For the best outcome, you should quit smoking and avoid nicotine products, do light exercises to build strength, and stop taking NSAIDs in the weeks leading up to your procedure.

Recovery from DIEP flap generally takes 6 to 8 weeks. You might be instructed to wear a compression garment around your chest and abdomen for several weeks. 

You can expect to experience:

  • Soreness around the chest and abdomen which should improve over the first two weeks
  • Swelling around the surgical site
  • Numbness or tightness in the area around your abdomen or breasts

DIEP Flap Recovery vs. Other Breast Reconstruction Options

Because DIEP flap takes excess tissue from the abdomen in addition to reconstructing the breasts, the recovery period is slightly longer than implants. However, DIEP flap reconstruction doesn’t require replacement surgeries throughout your life. It also has a shorter recovery time than other flap methods, which is why it’s the preferred technique at our practice.

Schedule Your Denver-Area DIEP Flap Consultation

When choosing a surgeon for breast reconstruction, experience and bedside manner matter. The Breast Center Park Meadows Cosmetic Surgery provides both. Our surgeons are DIEP flap specialists with extensive experience. We also understand breast cancer's emotional toll and are dedicated to helping women feel at home in their bodies again. To schedule a consultation at our Lone Tree, Colorado practice call 303-706-1100.