DIEP (tummy tuck) Breast Reconstruction

At North Texas Plastic Surgery, our team is committed to helping you regain the confidence you deserve after your experience with breast cancer. According to a former patient of Dr. Ver Halen, “Battling breast cancer is one of the most difficult challenges a woman can face. Winning that battle is one of the best feelings in the world. But closing the loop through breast reconstruction—becoming ‘whole’ again—is incomparable.”

Breast reconstruction can help you regain your appearance while erasing some of the scars left behind from a full or partial mastectomy. We know that treatment for breast cancer can be an emotional process, and we promise to be with you every step of the way through your reconstruction, providing you with all the knowledge and guidance you need to make the best decisions for your body.

Our Signature Breast Reconstruction Procedure

While Dr. Ver Halen and Dr. Obaid perform the full spectrum of reconstructive surgery, they specialize in one major reconstructive technique: the DIEP flap. They perform hundreds of these flaps a year and were responsible for introducing the procedure to the mid-South area in the late 2000s. Dr. Ver Halen has taught the procedure to other surgeons for nearly 10 years and has been the Director of Microvascular Services at the University of Tennessee, Baptist Cancer Center, and Scott and White Memorial Hospital.

The DIEP flap (tummy tuck breast reconstruction) takes tissue that is normally discarded in a tummy tuck (excess abdominal skin and fat) and transplants that tissue to recreate your missing breast. The vein, the artery, and occasionally a nerve is sewn by hand under the microscope (microsurgery) to new blood vessels in your chest. This way, a new, independent blood flow is established to areas damaged by radiation or surgery.

A soft, supple, and shapely breast can be shaped on the chest and can last for your whole life. At North Texas Plastic Surgery, we pride ourselves on not only our doctors’ technical ability to make this surgery a success, but their artistic sense to give you the best appearance possible—and the patient care experience that lets you know you have an ally throughout the process.

Advantages of the DIEP Flap

Compared to other procedures, reconstruction with your own tissue has quite a few benefits, including:

  • The least amount of down time
  • The quickest return to normal activity
  • The least amount of pain
  • The best longevity
  • The lowest amount of maintenance

You can expect to be walking the day after surgery, showering the second day, and at home on the third day after surgery. There are no restrictions on the amount of walking you can do, and you may drive and perform most activities of daily living after the first week. Most patients do not need to take anything other than Tylenol® for pain.

More specifically…

  • No muscle removed – You won’t have any residual abdominal weakness.
  • Enhanced recovery after surgery– Dr. Ver Halen and Dr. Obaid have developed many of the techniques that other surgeons use to minimize postoperative pain and narcotic use. Ninety-eight percent of our patients only take Tylenol for pain the day after surgery and require no narcotic or pain medications.
  • Fast recovery– The overwhelming majority of our patients are discharged from the hospital on the third day. Most are driving after one week and return to their normal activities after two weeks. Most importantly, the majority of patients never need another surgery!
  • Nothing artificial— In many other methods of breast reconstruction, including techniques that some may call a DIEP flap, an artificial mesh is placed in the abdomen because a section of muscle is taken along with fascia (cover over muscle). With the DIEP flap, all incisions are closed simply with sutures. Not having mesh or implants means a decreased infection rate and a significantly increased success rate at the time of the first surgery.
  • Breast skin sensation after mastectomy – In selected cases, when we are involved with reconstruction at the time of mastectomy, we try to preserve the nerves that allow the breast skin to have sensation. Our nerve-sparing technique is a significant advantage to the traditional mastectomy that has been performed nearly the same way for almost 80 years.
  • Revolutionary treatment for lymphedema – At the time of the DIEP flap, we can also incorporate lymph nodes that were removed at the time of your mastectomy. This may lower the risk of debilitating lymphedema (swollen arm).
  • Unwanted skin and fat removed from your abdomen (or elsewhere) and a reconstructed breast– Even your incision is the same as a cosmetic tummy tuck!

Click HERE to view patient photos of DIEP procedures performed by Dr. Ver Halen and Dr. Obaid at NTPS.

Drs. Obaid and Ver Halen will educate and guide you on the reconstructive process that best addresses your goals, while creating a beautiful and natural-looking breast. We want you to celebrate your victory and feel confident in your own skin. Contact us today to schedule your complimentary consultation and start the journey back to your confidence and natural beauty.

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