Breast Reconstruction after a mastectomy is typically done with either breast implants, or your own tissue; sometimes these techniques are combined.
Many patients have heard of a ‘DIEP flap’ but are uncertain about exactly what that is. A DIEP flap utilizes your tummy tissue to reconstruct your breast. Some people compare it to a tummy tuck, as the same tissue that is generally removed during a tummy tuck is what is used to reconstruct the breast. However, the actual surgery is very different from a tummy tuck.
In order to do breast reconstruction using your tummy, the extra fat and skin below the belly button is removed, but great care is taken to preserve the small blood vessels that nourish it, so that they can be re-attached in their new home on your chest. A DIEP is a specialized technique that accomplishes this without sacrificing any of your abdominal muscles.