Wednesday, August 1, 2012

DIEP Flap Breast Reconstruction - The Positives and Negatives

A mastectomy can be a devastating experience for any woman. While surviving and defeating cancer is a cause for celebration, it can leave a lot of sadness in its wake. Many women derive a great deal of their femininity from their breasts and no one wants to risk being uncomfortable with the shape they have to see everyday in the mirror. Aesthetics are not more important than a life or death situation, but it is nonetheless a heavy burden on many cancer survivors. To that end, DIEP flap breast reconstruction aims to give women a chance to have a beautiful figure back after defeating cancer.
Here are some of the positives and negatives to the procedure:
An Overview
To understand the pros and cons of the DIEP flap breast reconstruction procedure, it helps to have a general idea of what it entails. Instead of artificial implants, the doctor will use fat and skin from the patient's tummy to mold a new mound after the mastectomy has been performed. This is where the procedure gets its name. The deep inferior epigastric perforator artery in the belly area lends the name to the operation. The result doesn't give you a natural looking appearance right away. The doctor must also perform additional work to create an artificial nipple and surrounding areola.
Advantages
There are numerous advantages to DIEP flap breast reconstruction, which leads many plastic surgeons to recommend it as a procedure for those who have been through a mastectomy. Unlike similar procedures, no muscle is moved in the process, meaning recovery is faster and there is less pain involved. Because there is skin and fat taken from the belly, you are essentially getting a tummy tuck at the same time, which appeals to many women. Perhaps the best advantage to this procedure, however, is the extremely low failure rate. Estimates put it at less than 1 percent, which is good news for anyone who wants an operation they can count on.
Negatives
There is no plastic surgery procedure that doesn't come without some negatives. While you shouldn't dwell on every little story about something that could go wrong, it is equally irresponsible to go into a procedure without your eyes open. First, the DIEP flap breast reconstruction operation takes longer than, say, TRAM surgery. Second, because there are two surgical sites, there will be twice the scarring, though a good surgeon will hide these as effectively as possible. Finally, there are risks as there are with any surgery, which you should discuss thoroughly with your doctor.

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