Deep Inferior Epigastric Perforator or DIEP Flap Reconstruction is the surgical procedure for breast reconstruction. The Delayed DIEP Flap Reconstruction is performed after a few months of mastectomy surgery or breast removal surgery using fatty tissues and skin extracted from the abdominal region to rebuild the new breast. The abdominal skin is used for covering the tissues in breast and the abdominal tissues are used to rebuild the breast and then it is reattached to the blood vessels in cheat using the microsurgery. The best part of this surgery is that it doesn’t affect the muscles in the abdominal region. Surgeons would suggest you for 2-stage procedure wherein the first stage, implant expander is placed and in the second phase, the tissue is reconstructed. You need to undergo the nipple reconstruction separately as Delayed DIEP Flap Reconstruction doesn’t include nipple rebuild surgery.
Delayed DIEP Flap Reconstruction is performed to prevent the complications which may arise with immediate DIEP Flap Reconstruction along with mastectomy surgery. It is also suggested to patients who are required to undergo radiotherapy after their mastectomy surgery. So, patients who are required to undergo any radiation therapy are suggested to opt for the Delayed DIEP Flap Reconstruction rather than Immediate DIEP Flap Reconstruction. Since radiotherapy can damage the tissues used for reconstruction the new breast and shrink its size and shape, it is suggested to wait for few months after mastectomy and opt for Delayed DIEP Flap Reconstruction to avoid such complications.
Prior to performing the Delayed DIEP Flap Reconstruction, your doctor will ask you to stop taking anti-inflammatory drugs or blood thinning medications. After your mastectomy surgery, you are required to consult a plastic surgeon and let them know about your medical history and other complications due to which you have opted for Delayed DIEP Flap Reconstruction. Prior to the surgery, the plastic surgeon would place an implant expander in your cheat so as to make space for the tissues that will be used for breast reconstruction. In the second phase, the surgeons would remove the expander and place the tissues and fatty cells extracted from the abdominal region in the chest during the surgical procedure. You will be asked to take certain medications before surgery and also you will be suggested with aftercare measures which you need to perform accurately.
Similar to Immediate DIEP Flap Reconstruction surgery, the Delayed DIEP Flap Reconstruction is performed but the only difference is that it is not performed immediately after mastectomy surgery; instead, it is performed a few months later after the actual mastectomy surgery. The surgery is performed under general anesthesia where you will be senseless. The procedure involves taking skin and fatty tissues from your abdominal muscles to mold the new breasts. The surgeon will remove the implant expander during the surgery and place the removed tissues and fatty muscles from the abdominal region to rebuild the new breast. Now the surgeon would reattach the blood vessels of the tissues with the blood vessels in the chest for maintaining the circulation. It is done using the microsurgery process.
There are certain risks involved in the procedure and this includes:
After the surgery, you may get fatigued easily for a few weeks and you are restricted from performing any physical activities for a few days after the surgery. Experiencing surgical drainage is common and it may last for 5-6 days post surgery. For complete recovery you have to wait for 6-7 weeks and resume to normal activities must be done only after full recovery.
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