Going DIEP for Renewed Hope

Disclosure:: This post is sponsored by Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center and authored by Dr. Sarosh Zafar.

Going DIEP for Renewed Hope

The DIEP Flap surgical procedure creates a new, more natural breast for post-mastectomy patients with an added benefit.

A surgical procedure that provides a more natural-looking breast and a flatter belly at the same time for post-mastectomy breast cancer patients and survivors. Sounds too good to be true? Actually, it’s not, and the procedure is available right here in Acadiana.

The Deep Inferior Epigastric Perforator (DIEP) flap procedure provides renewed hope for post-mastectomy patients.

Essentially, the surgeon removes skin and underlying fatty tissue from the abdomen. The abdominal muscles are preserved and left in place. The procedure includes utilizing microsurgical techniques to reconnect blood vessels that provide blood flow to the harvested tissue once it is reattached.

This procedure is a wonderful advancement for area breast cancer survivors who have undergone a mastectomy. Now, these women have the option to receive a more aesthetically pleasing, natural-looking breast, which, in turn, will help boost confidence and self-awareness for those who have undergone a cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Through the DIEP procedure, the reconstructed breast retains the shape, softness, mobility and warmth of a natural breast.

The procedure requires the precision of a skilled microsurgeon to reconnect tiny blood vessels with miniaturized instruments and high-powered microscopes. The blood vessels are stitched with thread that is finer than a single human hair. The reconnected tissue is monitored after the procedure to ensure blood flow remains circulating in the tissue. Patients typically stay three nights in the hospital after the procedure.

Some patients may benefit from a second surgery that is often performed on an outpatient basis about three months after the initial procedure. It includes improvement of the reconstructed breast shape or position and improvement of breast symmetry by augmenting, reducing or lifting the native breast or reconstructed breast.

A breast cancer diagnosis can be a physically, medically, emotionally and psychologically traumatizing experience.

The DIEP Flap procedure was designed with these patients in mind. But, be sure to consult a plastic and reconstructive surgeon immediately after receiving a breast cancer diagnosis. Consider all of your available options before deciding if the DIEP Flap procedure is right for you.

Your surgeon should get to know you – what kind of work you do, how many children you have, what kind of exercise you like to do and what kind of support system you have to help you decide which surgery is right for you and to help you through the surgery and recovery process.  A breast cancer diagnosis can come at many different stages of life. Sometimes what would work for someone who’s in their 30’s would not work for someone who’s in their 70’s or vice versa.

As a plastic and reconstructive surgeon I have the privilege of seeing the true beauty and the absolute strength women possess. A breast cancer diagnosis can be crippling, but women have the ability to overcome, persevere and emerge stronger, better. It’s something truly inspirational to see.

About the Author

Dr. Sarosh Zafar, a board-certified plastic and reconstructive microsurgeon with Our Lady of Lourdes, is the only fellowship-trained microsurgeon in Lafayette. Discover more at LourdesPhysicianGroup.com.

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