5 Reasons to Choose DIEP Flap Breast Reconstruction Over Implants

There are several reasons why women choose DIEP flap reconstruction over breast implants and the most common one is the preference for the natural feel and look of using your own tissue. Here are some of the benefits of this technique.

Breasts that look and feel natural after mastectomy

During your DIEP flap breast reconstruction, your surgeon uses tissue from your lower abdomen which feels like natural breast tissue. During mastectomy, the breast tissue is mostly removed and just the skin and a thin layer of fat remain that can insulate and conceal your implants. This often leaves women unhappy with the firmness of their new breasts and also by the fact that their new breasts feel cold to the touch. On the other hand, when DIEP flap is used for reconstructing the breasts, it creates a soft and warm feel to your new breasts and, with the use of sensory nerve reconstruction, you may even be able to restore some feeling in the breasts. Most women choose the DIEP flap breast reconstruction because they say that:

  • It is their own tissue and it feels like their own breasts.
  • They did not want any foreign material like implants in their breasts, but rather want a natural look and warm feel.
  • They were concerned about what the breasts would look like without the tissue on top.
  • They also did not like the idea of expanders which could add to the disappointment of losing their breasts.
  • This method comes with the benefit of a tummy tuck to collect donor tissue.

Dissatisfaction with a prior reconstruction using implants

Even though implant reconstruction is the most commonly performed method today, it may not be the best option for some women. There are many reasons why women don’t want implants and many even face complications that result in them being removed or replaced. This is why women are increasingly choosing to have their implants removed and undergoing the DIEP flap reconstruction. Here are some issues women often face before choosing the DIEP method:

  • In addition to not liking the look or feel of the implants, women also experience shoulder or back pain due to pulling of the muscles.
  • Radiation can lead to scarring and hardening or displacement of the implants. In case of future cancer therapy, the breast implants would not be ideal with radiation therapy and could lead to deformation.

You do not require another surgery in the future

When opting for implants, they may have to be replaced or require some revisional surgery in the future. While DIEP flap reconstruction is for life, implants sometimes only last for a certain period of time and require replacement. These are some of the considerations women express about the possibility of revisional surgery:

  • Women who have undergone chemotherapy for months do not wish to get implants that would again require future surgeries or revision. The DIEP flap breast reconstruction technique is an extensive surgery, but in case of future radiation requirement, the implants would have to be removed and DIEP remains the best choice.
  • They love the feel of their breasts after DIEP reconstruction since the breasts are natural, move with them, and have more feeling than is possible with implants.
  • In addition to replacement of implants after some years, the possibility of a leak or rupture is not appealing to mastectomy patients. Even though the recovery time from DIEP reconstruction is longer, there is the satisfaction of having used one’s own tissue.

Possibility of implant failure

Almost 35 percent of all implant reconstructions fail when exposed to radiation. Your body may even reject a breast implant since it is a foreign body. With DIEP flap reconstruction, this risk goes down since your own tissue is used. Most women choose this method since they don’t want to deal with ongoing issues in case they chose breast implants. For many women, breast reconstruction is the final step in their breast cancer journey, so they prefer to avoid the need for further medical intervention in the future.

The results from DIEP reconstruction are akin to a tummy tuck

When women choose the DIEP method for their breast reconstruction, they also get the added benefit of a flat tummy with similar results of a tummy tuck procedure. Unlike the TRAM method, this procedure also spares all the abdominal muscles, meaning lesser risks of complications like hernia or bulging. DIEP allows women to enjoy renewed contours, which can be a huge positive versus negative feelings breast cancer diagnosis can leave you with.

Schedule a Consultation

Dr. Gawley and Dr. Mahabir have years of experience in producing excellent breast reconstruction results with the latest techniques and methods. To begin discussing your options and create the ideal treatment plan for you, contact our Scottsdale office by calling or filling out our online form.