In the DIEP flap, the excess skin and fat in the lower abdomen below the umblicus is taken along with the blood vessels that supply it to make a new breast.
The breast containing the breast cancer is removed. This is called as mastectomy.
The skin and fat below the umbilicus is raised along with the blood vessel that supplies it. This blood vessel is carefully separated from the adjoining rectus abdominis muscles and is raised as a flap. As the muscle is not raised along with the flap, there is very less donor site morbidity after the operation.
This tissue containing skin, fat and the blood vessels is called as the DIEP ( Deep Inferior Epigastric Artery Perforator Flap)
The blood vessels supplying the flap are connected to the blood vessels in the chest or in the axilla (armpit) and is reshaped to form a new breast.
Once the patient wears a bra, no one will know that the breasts have been reconstructed.
As the excess skin and fat below the umbilicus is taken away, the abdomen looks flatter and better. There is a long scar along the waistline which can be well hid with a panty. When a lady wears a pant, chudithar or a saree no one can notice the scar.
After the wounds heal and on completion of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, nipple reconstruction can be done to recreate a nipple.