diep flap

“Hybrid” DIEP Flap Surgery with Implants

Autologous reconstructions, including DIEP Flap and SIEA Flap procedures, result in breasts that have the natural look and feel of the patient’s original breasts.  However, these procedures use the patient’s own body tissue to reconstruct the breast area, and some patients may have insufficient abdominal tissue for a purely autologous DIEP Flap or SIEA Flap surgery.  In recent years, Drs. Vickery and Keegan have developed “hybrid” breast reconstructions that combine a DIEP Flap surgery with breast implants, providing individualized options for thin patients who prefer the natural results of an autologous breast reconstruction.

Hybrid breast reconstructions may be ideal for patients who:
  • need to replace radiated or compromised skin following a mastectomy, but do not have enough abdominal fat to completely reconstruct their breasts
  • have lax abdominal skin, but do not have sufficient excess tissue for a purely autologous reconstruction
  • prefer the softness of an autologous reconstruction, but need additional volume to achieve their ideal breast size
All hybrid reconstructions are initiated at the time of the mastectomy. In many cases, an entire hybrid breast reconstruction can be performed on the day of the mastectomy, though some patients may benefit from a staged procedure in which a tissue expander is inserted during the initial surgery. The tissue expander is then replaced with a permanent implant approximately 8-10 weeks later. The second surgery can generally be performed on an outpatient basis, and recovery time is minimal.

As with all breast reconstruction procedures, the ultimate goal is to create breasts that are as symmetrical and natural as possible.  If performed by a skilled team of surgeons, a DIEP Flap reconstruction with implants can be tailored to replicate the appearance and feel of natural breasts.  The DIEP Flap procedure creates a comfortable skin envelope for the implant, and patients can expect to enjoy long-lasting results, with a relatively low risk of complications.