DIEP flap reconstruction surgery aims to reconstruct the breast after a mastectomy. The procedure involves taking skin and fat from the abdominal area to create your new breast. This is an effective alternative to TRAM flap or implant reconstruction surgery.
DIEP Flap vs Implant Recovery
There are many benefits to having DIEP flap reconstruction surgery over implant reconstruction surgery. Although the DIEP flap procedure is more invasive and requires a longer surgery, patients who have this procedure experience less pain during recovery than with implant reconstruction. This is largely due to the fact that there is little muscle damage during surgery. Implant reconstruction often involves creating a pocket under the chest muscle to place the implant. This adds to recovery time and pain experienced. Healing and recovering from DIEP flap reconstruction surgery requires very little pain management and many patients only experience mild discomfort.
DIEP Flap Recovery
Week One of Recovery
Your first two to three days after breast reconstruction surgery will likely be spent in the hospital under observation. You will have bandages over your incisions and might have a small tube placed to remove excess blood and fluid. You might also be required to wear a support bra to minimize swelling. During this time, you can expect to be walking multiple times a day for as long as you feel comfortable. Most patients feel well enough to return home by the third day of recovery.
Week Two of Recovery
During week two of breast reconstruction recovery, tubes can be removed and you no longer have to wear a support bra if your surgeon has cleared it. You should continue to increase activity with more cardio and arm exercises.
Weeks Three to Six of Recovery
Many patients feel well enough to return to work after three weeks and you should begin to feel more capable of doing things on your own. After five weeks, you will likely be able to get back to your normal routine with regular daily activity. After six weeks of recovery, you can enjoy the results of your newly reconstructed breasts without restrictions.
DIEP flap breast reconstruction can effectively reconstruct your breasts with less pain and recovery time than implant reconstruction. To learn more about this procedure or to schedule your consultation with Dr. Taylor in the Northwest Arkansas region, contact our office today!