The DIEP Flap breast reconstruction gives women who are having or have had mastectomy a result that can look-like and feel-like a breast uplift with a tummy tuck as a bonus.
The DIEP flap is a major refinement of the traditional TRAM flap and there are significant differences. The procedure involves taking skin, fat and blood vessels without taking vital muscle away from the lower abdomen. The preservation of muscle is very important in active women as it prevents weakness. This is the one main difference between the DIEP and the TRAM. The TRAM removes muscle and the DIEP does not. The recuperation is faster and better than other types of major reconstruction.
The DIEP flap is a choice for women who are active and want to use their own tissue for reconstruction. Because the reconstruction is pure skin and fat it is similar in consistency to the breast tissue it is replacing. Once the reconstruction is established and stable it does not need replacement in the long term unlike other types.
The DIEP flap is a free tissue transfer from the lower abdomen to the chest and it requires the use of a microscope to join the vessels which keep the reconstruction alive in its new position. Micro vascular surgery requires careful precise and delicate handling of tissue and therefore this procedure takes longer than other reconstructions. The anaesthesia is also specialised. However the faster and better recuperation makes up for this.
Spire Liverpool Hospital has a modern microscope and has invested in the training of staff for this procedure. The lead cosmetic and plastic surgeon Mr Kenneth Graham carries out this procedure routinely on the NHS.
Read more on the The DIEP Flap Breast Reconstruction.