Free Flap/DIEP Flap Breast Reconstruction

Deep Inferior Epigastric Perforator Flap

DIEP is an advanced free-flap breast reconstruction technique that uses the patient’s own body tissues. The surgery is named after the Deep Inferior Epigastric Perforator, the blood supply for the tissue flap.

DIEP involves the transfer of tissue from the abdomen to the new breast. It is one of several free flap breast reconstruction procedures performed at UCI Plastic Surgery in Orange County, CA.

Reasons to Choose DIEP Breast Reconstruction

Many breast reconstruction candidates can consider DIEP flap breast reconstruction. The procedure has been used for reconstruction after:

  • Mastectomy
  • Lumpectomy defects
  • Congenital breast deficiency

DIEP flap breast reconstruction is not recommended for patients who are obese, cigarette smokers, those who are psychologically unstable, or those who have had previous surgery on the abdomen.

FAQ About DIEP Flap Breast Reconstruction in Orange County

Here are some basic answers to questions about DIEP flap breast reconstruction at UCI Plastic Surgery. If you have a question regarding this procedure, please email or call our Orange County plastic surgery offices today.

How does the DIEP Flap procedure work?

During a DIEP flap procedure, the surgeon removes lower abdominal tissue from the navel down. The tissue is then isolated with the feeding blood vessels (deep inferior epigastric perforators). With skin and fat, they are detached and relocated to the chest wall. The surgeon then connects the blood vessels to vessels that are located at the chest wall, allowing the tissue flap to survive in a new location.

What are the benefits of DIEP Flap breast reconstruction?

Several key benefits are offered with the DIEP flap procedure. Unlike other flap techniques, there’s no need to sacrifice the abdominal muscle tissue, which minimizes post-operative abdominal weakness and discomfort. There’s also a decreased risk of hernia formation. There are also aesthetic benefits similar to a tummy tuck.

How long is recovery after DIEP?

After a DIEP flap breast reconstruction, patients typically spend three to five days in the hospital. They can usually walk around after the first day of recovery. There may be surgical drains that are in place for about one to two weeks. Your surgeon at UCI Plastic Surgery can provide specific details about your recovery from DIEP flap breast reconstruction.

Are there other reconstructive procedures involved?

In some cases, reconstruction of the nipple is performed in a subsequent procedure. This may be several weeks after the surgery. Patients may also need revision procedures, which are less involved than the initial operation.

To learn more about DIEP flap breast reconstruction in Orange County, please contact the offices of UCI Plastic Surgery. You can call us at (949)-999-2411 or email our plastic surgery office in Orange County. We are located in the city of Orange, just a short drive from Los Angeles, Anaheim, Santa Ana, Garden Grove and other nearby cities of Southern California.