Phoenix plastic surgeon Dr. Tessler and Dr. Turin use microsurgical techniques to remove tissue and blood vessels from the abdomen and then use them to recreate the renewed, live tissue in the breast. The surgeon takes great care to preserve the abdominal muscle and nerves in order to ensure an optimal outcome with proper healing. Dr. Tessler and Dr. Turin take each patient as unique and develops a customized DIEP reconstruction to suit their goals. He has helped many mastectomy patients from Phoenix, Scottsdale, Gilbert, and surrounding AZ cities feel whole again after battling breast cancer.
Am I a Candidate for DIEP Reconstruction?
You may be a candidate for this autologous reconstruction technique if the amount of fat you have on your lower abdomen is enough to form one or both breasts to the desired volume. Patients who had prior abdominal operations such as c-section, liposuction, bowel resection, appendectomy, or hysterectomy may still be able to benefit from this procedure. However, patients who have had a tummy tuck in the past cannot benefit from DIEP breast reconstruction. During your breast reconstruction consultation with Dr. Tessler and Dr. Turin, the surgeon will listen to your concerns, examine your abdomen, and study your medical history before letting you know whether DIEP reconstruction is for you. If your body type of medical history does not permit this procedure, Dr. Tessler and Dr. Turin have many other autologous techniques that can still be used.
Benefits of DIEP Surgery
DIEP Flap is the gold standard for breast reconstruction. This technique offers unique benefits such as:
- No implant complications – This is an autologous procedure where tissue from the patient’s own body is used to form the new breast shape. This means patients do not have to deal with implant-related complications such as rippling, rupture, capsular contracture, or the need for multiple revision procedures to exchange the implants.
- Muscle sparing – Unlike some other autologous techniques, such as the TRAM flap, DIEP Flap does not use muscle tissue to form the new breast. This results in a faster recovery with reduced morbidity in the donor site.
- Bonus tummy tuck – Since excess fat and skin is borrowed from the abdominal area, this breast reconstruction procedure naturally results in a bonus tummy tuck. Women who receive DIEP reconstruction realize that their abdominal contour improves dramatically after the reconstruction.
- Natural look and feel – Since natural tissue from the patient’s own body is used – as opposed to artificial implants – DIEP reconstruction results in a natural feeling and a more natural-looking outcome.
Drawbacks of DIEP Surgery
Just like with any other surgical procedure, DIEP reconstruction has a few drawbacks of its own:
- Longer surgery time – This surgery takes a long time to complete because tissue has to be harvested from another area of the body and then used to form the new breast mound. This means patients will have multiple incision points and scarring.
- Risk of infection – There is a small risk of infection associated with any surgical procedure. Your surgeon will provide appropriate antibiotic medication to prevent this, as well as provide adequate instructions on how to keep your incision sites clean.
Dr. Tessler and Dr. Turin utilize advanced surgical techniques to deliver the best possible outcome while minimizing the risk of complications such as scarring and infections. Indeed, the key to a successful procedure is to work with a highly qualified plastic surgeon.
Recovery after DIEP Breast Reconstruction
Dr. Tessler and Dr. Turin will provide specific recovery instructions that should be strictly adhered to in order to ensure speedy healing. You will be told how to care for your dressings, staples, stitches, and surgical drains. The surgeon may also require you to wear a compression garment for up to 8 weeks to help with healing. Since you have just had simultaneous surgery at two sites (the abdomen and the breast(s)), you may feel worse than someone who just had mastectomy alone. Many patients find it difficult or painful to sit down or rise up from a sitting position, due to the abdominal surgery. Your surgeon will provide pain medication to alleviate your discomfort, as well as antibiotics to reduce the risk of infection. You will be required to commit as much time as possible to resting and recovery. Intense activities such as strenuous sports, heavy lifting, and sexual activity should be avoided for 8 weeks after DIEP flap surgery. How long it takes each patient to heal will depend on the extensiveness of the procedure as well as their body’s unique healing ability.
Requirements After Surgery
Dr. Tessler and Dr. Turin will ask that you attend a number of post-operative visits that are important to monitor your recovery progress. The surgeon will use these visits to check your incision points, check for abnormalities, and generally assess your recovery progress. It is paramount that you attend all post-operative appointments and firmly adhere to Dr. Tessler and Dr. Turin’s recovery instructions in order to ensure speedy and optimal healing.
The Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act (WHCRA) of 1998 requires all group health insurance plans that pay for mastectomy to also cover all stages of breast reconstruction, including corrective procedures, insertion of prosthesis, as well as post-mastectomy lymphedema. Your health insurer should pay for breast reconstruction, whether it is done at the same time as the mastectomy/lumpectomy, or years later. This includes reconstruction procedures that may be needed over time to improve the reconstructed breast or create a balance between the two breasts. Keep in mind though that government and church-sponsored plans are not always required to cover reconstruction, so you may need to check with your insurance provider.
Schedule your DIEP Breast Reconstruction in AZ
Working with a highly experienced, board-certified plastic surgeon is the first step towards ensuring a successful breast reconstruction procedure. Dr. Tessler was appointed assistant and associate professor of Plastic Surgery at LSU (Louisiana State University) and Tulane University. He has also served as Director of Plastic Surgery at University Medical Center, as well as contributed important research in the field and trained dozens of the upcoming plastic surgeons. Dr. Tessler’s passion lies in restoring form and function while improving the quality of life of his patients. He brings a friendly and personalized approach to reconstruction surgery while working with highly qualified anesthesiologists and other support staff who strive to deliver the best DIEP Flap surgery Phoenix, AZ has to offer. Get in touch with Tessler Plastic Surgery to schedule your first appointment today.