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If you have a mastectomy to treat or prevent cancer, breast reconstruction can surgically recreate a natural-looking breast. One option for breast reconstruction is a deep inferior epigastric perforator (DIEP) flap procedure. In a DIEP flap, the surgeon first excises skin and fat from the lower abdomen. This process does not require removing any of the rectus abdominus muscle, which houses the artery and vein that serve as the primary blood supply to skin and fat of the lower abdomen. The excised abdominal tissue, or "flap," is then transferred to the mastectomy area. There, blood flow is restored by reconnecting the artery and vein to a set of vessels in the chest wall. The surgeon then shapes the flap to form a new breast. Unlike the TRAM flap, the DIEP flap avoids using abdominal muscle. DIEP flaps thus take longer to complete. However, they may involve less postoperative pain and may reduce the risk of hernia formation. Please note: A DIEP flap leaves a scar that extends along the lower abdomen, from one hip to the other. As a result, the recovery period may be longer than with breast construction with implants or tissue expanders.
You may be a good candidate for DIEP flap reconstruction if you:
You may not be a good candidate for DIEP flap reconstruction if you:
Depending on your particular situation, other flap options to create the new breast may include:
The TUG flap and SGAP/IGAP flaps are generally used with patients who lack enough abdominal tissue for the DIEP or SIEA flap.
Our plastic surgeons have extensive experience in all types of breast reconstructive techniques, including the newest and most innovative procedures. When appropriate, we combine techniques, using flaps, implants and nipple tattooing to achieve the most natural-looking outcome.All forms of breast reconstruction after mastectomy have inherent risks, which will be fully discussed during your consultation.
Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Wang Ambulatory Care Center 435
We are also located at:
Mass General/North Shore Center for Outpatient Care 102 Endicott Street Danvers, MA 01923
The Mass General Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery is located in the Wang Ambulatory Care Center at 15 Parkman St. Parking is available in the Parkman St. and nearby Fruit St. and Yawkey Center garages. Please note that some GPS systems do not recognize the 15 Parkman St. address. If you use a GPS system to drive to Mass General, enter Blossom St. as your destination, and then turn onto Parkman directly from Blossom.
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