MAKING YOU WHOLE AGAIN: DIEP FLAP RECONSTRUCTIVE SURGERY
Undergoing a mastectomy can be an arduous, sometimes heartbreaking endeavor. Losing one or both breasts to breast cancer, even as a preventative measure, can sometimes leave the patient feeling that a “piece” of them is missing. However, there is a procedure that might be able to bring peace of mind for those looking to made “whole” again.
Known as a DIEP (deep inferior epigastric perforators) flap, this procedure uses blood vessels, skin and fat from the lower abdomen and utilizes them to reconstruct a breast after a mastectomy. “Park Place Surgical Hospital (PPSH) prides itself on providing the most effective and innovative surgical techniques to the residents of Acadiana,” says Brandon Moore, CEO of PPSH. “Our patients deserve to receive the best care possible close to home and we’re honored to do that.”
This procedure has its benefits. It can be performed at the time of mastectomy or can be scheduled at a later time and many women find the procedure very similar to a “tummy tuck” as another result of the procedure is a flatter abdomen.
“We probably have in excess of 600 flaps done here locally,” says Dr. Stephen Delatte, Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon at PPSH. “I would say that we have pretty impressive experience with that.”
Patients also have a greater chance of retaining their abdominal strength, as a normal procedure does not require any muscle to be used. While there are many benefits to having this procedure after a mastectomy, there are some things to keep in mind.
You only have one opportunity for tissue to be taken from your “tummy” for breast reconstruction. If you have a DIEP flap procedure on one breast and then need your other breast to undergo reconstruction, tissue will have to be used from your buttocks or back. Implants are also an option.
You should also consider the cosmetic implications of the procedure. Undergoing a DIEP flap procedure will leave a long horizontal scar — from hipbone to hipbone — underneath your navel to about the top of your pubic area. This is normally considered to be below the “bikini line”.
While you might have a “piece” of you taken away, you should be left with the peace of mind knowing that you are in good hands at PPSH. We will be with you as you take your first step on your journey to recovery…and we want to ensure that you head home feeling “whole” again.