How Long is the DIEP Flap Surgery?

One of the major breast reconstruction techniques called the deep inferior epigastria artery perforator is usually called as the DIEP flap surgery. This procedure of breast reconstruction can be is beneficial for a woman who has had mastectomy or removal of the breasts due to breast cancer. The DIEP flap surgery usually takes around 6 to 8 hours.

How Long is the DIEP Flap Surgery?

How Long Does The Patient Have To Stay In Hospital After the DIEP Flap Surgery?

Once the DIEP flap reconstruction surgery is done, the patient is usually moved to the recovery room in order to monitor the heart rate, body temperature and other vital bodily functioning. In order to undergo a DIEP flap reconstruction surgery, one has to stay in hospital for about a period of five days. In case the patient feels nauseated from the anaesthesia, that has to be medically treated and thus observation is necessary.

What is the Procedure Of Having a DIEP Flap Surgery?

In a typical DIEP flap reconstruction surgery, a small surgical incision is made along the bikini line of the patient. A portion of the skin, fat and blood vessels are taken from the lower portion of the abdomen so that it can be moved up to the chest in order to form into a breast shape. In a DIEP flap surgery, no muscles are moved or cut. The blood vessels in the flap are tiny and they feed the tissue of the patient’s new breast. These blood vessels are matched to the blood vessels in the chest and then are carefully reattached under the microscope.

What is the Recovery Time After the DIEP Flap Surgery?

The recovery time depends on various factors like the number of incisions made as well as the general medical health of the patient.

Duration: The patient may usually take about six to eight weeks in order to recover from the DIEP flap reconstruction surgery.

External Support: The doctor may ask the patient to wear a compression girdle for around 8 weeks of time after the surgery.

Recovery Time: The patient may feel that it is taking a lot of time to recover but it has to be like so because the surgery would involve incisions at two sites of the body, which are the chest as well as the belly.

Drain Insertion: The patient has to take care of multiple incisions in this case. It may be so that the surgeon may insert drains in the reconstructed breasts and also in the abdominal donor site.

Other Incisions: In case auxiliary nodes are removed during the surgery, there may be yet another incision under the arm.

What are the Advantages of Having a DIEP Flap Reconstruction Surgery?

Newer Version: It is important to note that the DIEP flap is a new and more complex version of the Transerve Rectus Abdominus Myocutaneous flap commonly called the TRAM flap.

Minor Surgery: The TRAM procedure involved the removal of the skin and fat of the lower abdomen along with the rectus or sit-up muscles. Thus the surgery had to be quite major as compared to the DIEP flap surgery.

Fewer Complications: On the contrary, the DIEP flap reconstruction surgery is a more refined version which involves very little or no muscles removal. This leaves the patient with lesser core strength complications and problems.

Faster Recovery Time: DIEP flap surgery is also characterized by short recovery time.

Risk Reduction: The risk of hernia or bulge in the abdomen after surgery also reduces with the DIEP flap surgery approach.

Tummy Tucking: The DIEP flap reconstruction surgery also leads to tummy tucking of the patient who provides a proper shape and contour of the body.

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:April 5, 2018

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