The UT Southwestern Medical Center has introduced a relatively new and rare microsurgery procedure for breast reconstruction patients. The center has developed the Deep Inferior Epigastric Perforator (DIEP) flap procedure for women seeking breast reconstruction after a mastectomy.
According to Dr. Michael Saint-Cyr, this procedure preserves muscles so that recovery is quicker and there is less postoperative pain. In this procedure, the surgeons can reconstruct the breast with skin and fat that is taken from the abdomen. This gives the patient a tummy tuck while getting their breast reconstruction, and the entire process is completed by reattaching blood vessels under a microscope.
According to Dr. Michel Saint-Cyr, assistant professor of plastic surgery, this microsurgery can be done immediately after a mastectomy so that patients can have their breast tissue removed in just one step. Dr. Saint-Cyr points out that the reconstructed breast is firmer, has a more youthful appearance, and looks very similar to the original breasts because of this procedure. Since a significant amount of fat is removed from the abdomen, the patient undergoes a basic tummy tuck which can help to further improve their appearance and enhance their silhouette.
Dr. Saint-Cyr also points out that “Due to the complexity of the microsurgery, only about 40 surgeons nationwide routinely perform these types of procedures so travel may be required for some women to find a surgeon with the needed experience.” This type of surgery may be most appropriate for women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer and must have either one or both breasts removed.
This procedure, along with other similar microsurgery procedures, will be discussed at the “What’s New in Breast Reconstruction: Optimizing Results Using a Multidisciplinary Approach” seminar hosted at UT Southwestern in early December. The event will be open to the public and will include discussions about breast conservation therapy, nipple-sparing mastectomy techniques and options in breast reconstruction.