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Breast Cancer
Hospital  >  Care Programs  >  Odette Cancer Program  >  Breast cancer care  >  Immediate Breast Reconstruction Program  >  What is a DIEP Flap procedure?

What is a DIEP Flap procedure?

DIEP stands for Deep Inferior Epigastric Artery Perforator. DIEP flap breast reconstruction is an operation that uses your own fat and skin from the abdomen to make a breast mound. It can be done immediately following mastectomy (immediate reconstruction) or at a later date (delayed reconstruction).

Who is this surgery for?

This surgery is for people who have had one or both breasts removed due to cancer. Speak to your surgeon to see if this type of reconstruction is right for you.

How long does the procedure take?

This procedure can take several hours in the operating room.

What are some benefits of this procedure over other breast reconstruction procedures?

The main benefit of this procedure is that your breast will be made up of your own tissue therefore there are no implants required. Because the tissue comes from their own abdomen, some patients find the shaping of the abdomen to be a benefit.

How long is the recovery process, and what does it entail?

Patients typically stay for 3 to 4 nights in hospital. You need to recover from both the breast and the abdominal part of the operation. Your care team will talk to you about your recovery and how best to recuperate.

Is this procedure covered by OHIP?

Yes. OHIP will cover all of the costs associated with this procedure.

I had my mastectomy at a different hospital and I have an appointment booked for breast reconstruction with implants. Can I get this procedure at Sunnybrook instead?

You would need to have another plastic surgeon refer you to Sunnybrook for consideration of a DIEP flap breast reconstruction.

Are there other hospitals or centres in the GTA performing DIEP?

Yes, there are several hospitals where surgeons perform DIEP flap procedures, including Toronto General and North York General.

How do I get a referral?

Unless you are being treated for breast cancer at Sunnybrook Hospital, you would need to have another plastic surgeon assess you for breast reconstruction options and refer you specifically for DIEP flap breast reconstruction.


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