Although the TRAM flap procedure may be one the most commonly used method for autologous breast reconstruction in the world, it is certainly not the only option available. Every woman’s body is unique and those individual requirements often require that different approaches be used in order to achieve the same overall goals. One alternative approach to natural tissue flap breast reconstruction is called the DIEP flap technique.
Short for “Deep Inferior Epigastric Perforator,” the DIEP flap method is superficially similar to the Free Tram procedure, but has some very important differences. Like the TRAM flap, the DIEP flap transplants tissue that has been taken from the patient’s own abdominal area to the chest, where it is used to rebuild the breast mound. However, it uses only the skin, fat, and attached blood vessels; no abdominal muscle is removed. Proponents of this method maintain that it creates a more naturally textured breast while avoiding the abdominal weakness that could potentially be a side effect of a TRAM flap procedure. On the other hand, many reconstructive surgeons favor a more traditional TRAM flap approach because it does not require severing the blood vessels, and so allows them to render an increased blood supply to the new breast.
While DIEP flap breast reconstruction is popular because it often requires a shorter recovery period, the procedure is not for everyone. Women who lack sufficient belly tissue, who have already undergone other abdominal surgeries, like a tummy tuck, or whose blood vessels are small or not ideally located are generally better served with other techniques. During a consultation, one of our board-certified and experienced plastic surgeons can carefully go over your medical history and personal aesthetic goals in order to determine the breast reconstruction approach that is best for you.
Frequently Asked Questions about DIEP Flap Breast Reconstruction
For almost fifty years, our team of board-certified reconstructive plastic surgeons at Atlanta Plastic Surgery, P.C. has been on the forefront of research into the most advanced plastic surgery technology and surgical techniques. To explore our additional services, click on our individual plastic surgeon’s links below to learn more about facial, breast, and body reconstruction procedures.