DIEP Flap Surgery in Spartanburg — FAQs

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Dr. Orseck proudly offers DIEP Flap surgery to patients in Spartanburg and Simpsonville, SC. The DIEP Flap procedure is the most advanced breast reconstruction technique currently available. Read on to learn more about how DIEP Flap can help you.

DIEP Flap Surgery vs. Breast Implants

The breast removed during a mastectomy is skin and fat. Why replace that with silicone, when you can replace it with your own skin and fat? Not only is it a natural reconstruction, but the results are permanent, and you also get the benefit of a tummy tuck!

For one breast, a DIEP can take 3-4 hours. For both breasts, 6-7 hours. If you are having a mastectomy at the same time, then add 1-2 additional hours. Sure, it is quicker to place implants, but long term the DIEP flap is a better choice for many patients.

Dr. Orseck can still perform a natural reconstruction in patients who have had a prior tummy tuck or other significant abdominal surgery. A PAP flap is a procedure where the skin and fat from the inner thigh is transplanted to the breast, much the same way a DIEP flap is.

Patients are typically discharged in less than 72 hours after completion of their surgery. There is no need for ICU stay, as our surgical ward nurses are experts in caring for breast reconstruction patients.

Walking is encouraged the first day after surgery. After 7-10 days, you should be able to drive. You should not lift anything heavier than 20 pounds in the first 7-10 days. After 4 weeks, you should be able to return to work, depending on how much physical activity is required. At 4 weeks, you can run, lift weights, and swim.

You will have 2 drains in the abdomen and one drain in the breast. We will teach you how to care for them. They will be removed when they put out less than 25 cc (one ounce) per day.

Sometimes, Dr. Orseck will remove the nipples at the time of mastectomy. Other times, it will be left intact, otherwise known a nipple sparing mastectomy. If your nipples are removed at the time of mastectomy, you will undergo nipple reconstruction at a separate operation 3-6 months later. This is essentially painless and only takes a few minutes to do. The pigmented part of the areola is tattooed for the final stage.

From the day of the DIEP flaps, your final result will be completed between 3 and 6 months.

One of the benefits of the DIEP flap is the improved abdominal shape. Your abdomen will be much flatter and tighter. You essentially get a tummy tuck from the operation, though the scar is slightly higher than a tummy tuck scar.

Microsurgery allows the movement of large amounts of tissue from one part of the body to another. It has revolutionized the field of Reconstructive Plastic Surgery and gives a skilled microsurgeon a much wider range of options than ever before possible. This makes it possible for a microsurgeon performing a flap to transfer the abdominal skin and fat needed for a DIEP Flap reconstruction without sacrificing the abdominal muscle.

Any surgery performed in any hospital or surgery center carries the risk of complications.The chances of such a complication occurring are low but not zero. The only way to have no risk of complications is to not have DIEP Flap reconstruction, which is an option. Standard surgical risks include bleeding, infection, pain, damage to nerves and blood vessels, partial of complete flap loss, permanent scars, and the need for revision surgery. These risks are common to all physicians performing DIEP Flap reconstruction or other surgery. Each type of procedure has its specific set of risks. We will carefully go over any risks involved before your procedure and are happy to answer any questions or concerns you might have at any time.

Procedures using expanders and implants are faster in the short term. However, there is a much higher complication rate with implants. In fact, implants can rupture or cause problems throughout one’s entire life. Using your own tissues is a more natural procedure. Once your flap has healed, it cannot rupture, or develop a reason to be removed. An added benefit is the greatly improved abdominal contour, much like a tummy tuck.

Federal law requires insurance companies to pay for your DIEP Flap reconstruction. Each insurance company has a different deductable and co-pay. Our insurance specialists will help you through this process.

Scheduling can begin on the day of consultation, but the final date will come after insurance authorization.

Dr. Orseck will be happy to consult with you concerning your best options for breast reconstruction. Call us today at 864-560-6717 or write to us using our online contact form. Dr. Orseck is proud to offer quality care and the very best results for patients in Simpsonville, Spartanburg, and surrounding areas in South Carolina.

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