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DIEP Flap Breast Reconstruction Surgery and Recovery

Posted Sep 03 2012 4:56am
DIEP flap surgery or the Deep Inferior Epigastric Perforator flap surgery is an excellent breast reconstruction procedure which makes use of blood vessels, fat and skin from the lower abdomen of a woman as donor tissue. Then, the surgeon transfers the flap to the chest. With the help of a microscope, the donor tissue blood vessels are attached to the chest blood vessels and the breast is reconstructed. Significant benefits are provided by DIEP flap breast reconstruction surgery and these include a natural looking breast, and a quick recovery.

DIEP flap breast reconstruction surgery is an innovative plastic surgery procedure and only some recognized facilities have the expertise that is necessary for performing the surgery very safely. Owing to the benefits that are offered, DIEP is becoming the most preferred choice for many breast cancer patients. Hospitals and plastic surgery practices that offer DIEP flap surgery also provide education to patients regarding the procedure and its various benefits.

The Surgical Procedure

DIEP flap surgery involves no muscle removal. The muscles are left in place, only the perforating vessels with the overlying flesh are removed. Any abdominal hernia that can result from weakened muscles can be thus prevented. Since no muscle is removed, the incision is placed low in the abdomen. The surgery is advantageous because no foreign materials are introduced into the body.
Patients usually need only a 3 day hospital stay and recover quickly.

Recovery from DIEP flap surgery

DIEP flap breast reconstruction surgery has a shorter recovery time compared to other flap reconstructive surgeries. Often, patients find the first 48 hours after the surgery challenging. During this, personal attention is provided by the nursing staff that is trained in optimizing the comfort of patients and accelerating the process of recovery. Patients should become mobile so that there is improvement in the blood circulation and lesser chance of complications.

A patient would recover soon if she has been physically active before the procedure and enjoys good health. Most patients recover within slightly more than a month’s time. After that patients can get back to their normal activities. Patients are allowed to climb stairs a week after the procedure. However, they are advised not to indulge in heavy work as this may hinder the healing process.

A few weeks after the DIEP flap surgery, patients are encouraged to engage more in physical activity and advised to avoid medications such as aspirin as it would lead to complications such as blood thinning. Intake of hormones should also be avoided. Deep breathing techniques should be practiced by patients so that they have a comfortable experience during the recovery period. Approach a patient, caring, and experienced plastic surgeon to benefit from a safe and comfortable surgical procedure.

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