What is DIEP (Deep Inferior Epigastric Artery Perforator) Flap Breast Reconstruction Surgery?
A Deep Inferior Epigastric Perforator (DIEP) free flap is considered to be the gold standard plastic surgical technique for breast reconstruction. This ‘autologous’ procedure involves completely detaching excess tissue from the abdomen and transferring it to the chest to create a breast. In the abdomen there is an important muscle called the rectus abdominis muscle, which helps to stabilize the trunk, preventing herniation and allowing you to sit up. Overlying the muscle is a roll of soft tissue with the skin and fat. This area is essentially a spare part. The blood supply to the fat and skin comes through the muscle described above.
In the DIEP flap, we only take the fat roll from the abdomen with its blood supply and completely preserve the muscle. The muscle is therefore undamaged and it can continue to support the tummy as normal. In addition to the breast reconstruction you will have a tummy tuck or abdominoplasty as an added benefit.
As the flap is completely removed from its blood supply and then reattached in a different are. This is called a free flap.