DIEP Flap Reconstruction in Middletown, NJ
Dr. John M. Taylor is a Red Bank, NJ, board-certified plastic surgeon who performs the most advanced microsurgical reconstruction of the breast after a mastectomy, the Deep Inferior Epigastric Perforator flap (DIEP flap) procedure.
What Is a DIEP Flap Reconstruction?
The DIEP, deep inferior epigastric perforators, flap is a ground-breaking breast reconstruction technique in which skin and tissue (no muscle) are taken from the abdomen in order to recreate the breast. With this procedure, blood vessels (DIEPs) along with the skin and fat connected to them, are taken from the lower abdomen and placed in the chest area to reconstruct the breast after a mastectomy. No abdominal muscles are affected during this procedure.
Benefits of DIEP Flap Reconstruction
Patients typically select the DIEP flap reconstruction when possible because the procedure offers the following benefits:
- Creates a more natural-looking breast
- Alleviates apprehension with having implants
- Involves a “tummy tuck” of sorts
- Improved abdominal contour
- Quicker recovery than with other procedures
- Less post-operative discomfort
How Is DIEP Flap Reconstruction Performed?
The DIEP flap uses microsurgical techniques to remove abdominal skin, fat, and blood vessels (the perforators) without removing any core abdominal muscle (as is done in the TRAM flap). The abdominal flap is then transferred to the chest wall where the blood vessels are connected with microsurgery to the blood vessels at the mastectomy site. A breast form is created that looks and feels much like a woman’s natural breast.
This procedure can be done at the time of mastectomy, or it may be performed as delayed reconstruction at a later date. In addition, the abdominal flap removed can be used to create two breasts in patients undergoing a double mastectomy or only one breast in unilateral mastectomy patients. And since the tissue taken to create the new breast is virtually the same as that taken for a cosmetic abdominoplasty, these patients get a tummy tuck in the process.
A hospital stay of 4-7 days is required, and Dr. Taylor will closely monitor the condition of the flap and its circulation. Delayed reconstruction may be recommended in some cases where radiation therapy may be required post-mastectomy. In addition, the vessels that will provide the flap must be of adequate size and function. The integrity of these vessels is evaluated during a pre-operative CT angiogram of the chest, abdomen, and pelvis.
Preparing for DIEP Flap Reconstruction
In preparing for the DIEP flap reconstruction procedure, it is important for patients to discuss their complete medical, surgical, and social history, especially if they smoke cigarettes, to determine the risks associated with this surgery. Poor candidates are those who smoke, have diabetes, or are obese. It may be necessary to do the following:
- Get EKG and blood work
- Stop taking over the counter medicines such as ibuprofen, aspirin, vitamins, and other nutritional supplements
- Adjust or stop taking current medications temporarily
Recovery from DIEP Flap Reconstruction
After the surgery, patients will be given prescription oral medication for discomfort as well as antibiotics to prevent infection. Patients may resume light activity in about two weeks but are to avoid strenuous activity for six weeks. Patients usually return to work in six to eight weeks. Numbness and a firm feeling over the skin’s surface will resolve in a few months, and the final results are complete several months after the surgery.
If you are considering breast reconstruction at the time of mastectomy or even many years after a mastectomy, the DIEP flap procedure should definitely be a consideration. Patients regain very natural looking and feeling breasts as well as the benefit of a tummy tuck without the necessity of a prosthetic breast implant.
How Much Does DIEP Flap Reconstruction Cost?
The cost of DIEP flap reconstruction varies with each patient depending on the extent of the procedure. Because this procedure is considered as reconstruction rather than a cosmetic procedure, health insurance plans typically offer coverage to help offset the expense. We can help you determine if your insurance policy provides coverage for this procedure. We accept most major credit cards as well as cash and offer financing through CareCredit®.
Is the DIEP Flap Reconstruction Right for Me?
Good candidates are women who have enough fat and skin of the abdomen to create the breast forms desired. Other good candidates include women who have undergone failed tissue expander/implant reconstruction in the past.
Why Choose Dr. John Taylor for DIEP Flap Reconstruction?
Dr. Taylor helped initiate one of the first DIEP teams in New Jersey, bringing together surgeons, anesthesiologists, physician assistants, and nurses, and they now have the most surgical experience with DIEP flap reconstruction in the region.
What to Expect During Your DIEP Flap Reconstruction Consultation
During your consultation, Dr. Taylor will evaluate your abdominal area to determine if the DIEP flap reconstruction or another procedure is best for you. He will discuss what you want in terms of size and shape of breasts that you would like as well as the procedure that will best achieve that look. Most importantly, he will answer all of your questions including those about cost.
At Allure Plastic Surgery Center, Dr. John Taylor offers plastic and reconstructive surgery procedures as well as non-invasive advanced skin care treatments to patients in Red Bank, NJ, and the surrounding areas. Contact us to set up your consultation today.