SPARTANBURG — Breast cancer changes a woman’s life. For many women with breast cancer, the reflection they see in the mirror is drastically altered in the course of a few months — especially if a mastectomy is involved.
When facing a mastectomy, women are given many reconstructive options. One of the newest and most advanced options for breast reconstruction not only results in breasts with a more natural look and feel, but it offers the added benefit of a more contoured tummy, very similar to a cosmetic tummy tuck operation. This procedure is done by taking skin and fat from the lower abdomen and transplanting them to the chest to recreate the breast.
The procedure is called DIEP flap. DIEP, pronounced “deep,” stands for Deep Inferior Epigastric Perforators, which are blood vessels.
Michael Orseck, MD, of Medical Group of the Carolinas — Magnolia Plastic Surgery in Spartanburg, is the only plastic surgeon in the Upstate performing this procedure.
“The reconstruction is performed by using a woman’s own tissue rather than an implant, which helps avoid implant-based complications,” Dr. Orseck said. “Many women who don’t want prosthetic implants opt for DIEP flap reconstruction.”
DIEP flap reconstruction has other uses. Dr. Orseck describes it as a “great way to replace a failed implant operation.”
DIEP flap reconstruction may be done for one or both breasts and can be performed on women with cancer, or for those undergoing prophylactic mastectomies. It can be performed at the same time as the mastectomy, or at any point after.
If a mastectomy is only performed on one breast, a second procedure can be done later on the other side, so the breasts will still appear symmetrical.
Women who have already had breast reconstruction surgery may also be eligible for the DIEP flap procedure.
“DIEP flap reconstruction is becoming the gold standard for failed or unsightly breast reconstruction performed previously,” Dr. Orseck said.
DIEP flap reconstruction uses the woman’s own tissue, so there is no need for implants. Also, no muscle is sacrificed as with other techniques, the recovery period is less painful, and it enhances a woman’s abdominal contour.
It is also the reconstructive procedure of choice in women who have had radiation, as these women cannot receive implants after mastectomy.
Women whose abdomens are too flat, or have had a previous tummy tuck, are not eligible for this procedure, but similar techniques using skin from the thigh or buttocks may be possible.
“The DIEP flap technique is becoming popular among women facing mastectomy because it pairs the advantage of natural breast reconstruction with the added benefit of beautiful cosmetic results,” Dr. Orseck said.
For more information please visit: http://www.diepflapsouthcarolina.com or call Medical Group of the Carolinas — Magnolia Plastic Surgery at 864-560-6717.
Courtesy of Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System. (SpartanburgRegional.com)