DIEP Flap Reconstruction Gives Woman Hope After Breast Cancer

DIEP Flap Reconstruction Gives Woman Hope After Breast Cancer


Following breast
cancer treatment, many women are left feeling self-conscious and somewhat
embarrassed about their appearance. But there’s another breast reconstruction
option giving women a chance to to feel more like themselves again. Ane woman
took that journey at MedStar Franklin Square Hospital WMAR-2 News Ashley James
shares her story. It’s like something is taken away from you. Donna Purcell had a rough road to
recovery after her breast cancer diagnosis. She had a lumpectomy, radiation,
and then multiple follow-up surgeries on her right breast. In December I found
out that they wouldn’t be able to save the breasts any longer. So they removed the
breast. Donna didn’t feel like herself after and because of all the damage done
to her breast, it wasn’t easy finding a solution. Because of the radiation and
how my body had responded to it, a lot of doctors basically just didn’t
want to touch it. But there was one plastic surgeon up for the challenge. I
went to see him and he looked at the breast and when he came out
and told me that there was something that could actually be done, all I could do
was cry. Because it was a long time coming. Dr. Gabriel del Corral is a
reconstructive plastic surgeon at MedStar Health, he performed a DIEP flap,
or deep flap, on Donna. The DIEP flap reconstruction stands for
the name of the surgery and it’s a “Deep Inferior Epigastric Perforator Flap,”
which means really the name of the artery and the vessel that we remove at
that time to do the reconstruction. He says the DIEP flap is when doctors
take someone’s abdomen tissue, the skin and fat, and use that fat to reconstruct
the breast. It’s similar to a tummy tuck procedure where the tissue is
removed and thrown away. But in this case, we take the tissue out with a little
artery in a little vein that we actually connect to the chest wall vessels to
give blood supply to that new tissue that was removed from the abdomen. Dr.
Del Corral says there are many reasons why a patient might choose this over an
implant reconstruction. A lot of the times, patients don’t want to worry about
the possibility of needing an implant or having the need to have a
revision later in life. Another important reason is that it’s really your own
tissue, so it’s a natural reconstruction where if you gain or you lose weight
the tissue will change with you and if you age the tissue will also change. The
procedure changed Donna’s life. I feel good you know. I can take my clothes off
and look in the mirror and be like it’s me. To be able to look in the mirror
and look like a human, basically, without a deformity was more important to me
than anything. That was Ashley James reporting. Doctors say that there are
many options for breast reconstruction and what it’s really about is finding
the best option for each patient.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *