Groundbreaking new Research shows DIEP Flap Breast Reconstruction may be an Option for Obese Women

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Research says DIEP flap surgery is one of the safer breast reconstructive options in patients with a BMI up to 40

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The DIEP flap, which is today's gold standard in breast reconstruction, is one of the safer reconstructive procedures in patients with a BMI up to 40.

Breast cancer can be a devastating diagnosis for many women, and the thought of being permanently disfigured after a mastectomy only compounds that devastation.

Breast reconstruction, which can restore a breast cancer survivor’s self-esteem and aid in overall recovery after treatment, has been largely unavailable to obese women due to the fear of complications. In the July issue of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery: The Journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, physicians with San Antonio-based PRMA Plastic Surgery take on the controversial topic of breast reconstruction in obese women. Their research indicates that the DIEP flap, which is today's gold standard in breast reconstruction, is safe in obese populations and in fact may be the recommended method of abdominal-based breast reconstruction in patients with a body mass index up to 40.

Body mass index, or BMI, is a formula used to express total body fat. Historically, women with a high BMI were discouraged from having breast reconstruction because of the prospective risk of complications. A higher body mass index was associated with poor outcomes in breast reconstruction using traditional techniques.

PRMA surgeons conducted a retrospective analysis of 639 DIEP flaps in 418 patients between January of 2006 to March of 2008, concluding that, “Increasing body mass index predisposes patients to delayed wound healing complications in both flap and donor-site locations [after any abdominal flap procedure], but given a similar flap complication profile and maintenance of abdominal stability, DIEP flaps are recommended in patients with increased body mass index."

Surgeons with PRMA have conducted more than 4000 of these reconstruction surgeries and this research confirms that the DIEP flap method of reconstruction in obese populations should be considered an option.

Dr. Minas Chrysopoulo, says “The DIEP flap, which is today's gold standard in breast reconstruction, is one of the safer reconstructive procedures in patients with a BMI up to 40.” Dr. Chrysopoulo said, “The risk of a hernia or abdominal bulging, which are two of the biggest complications seen in obese women after traditional procedures like the TRAM flap, is significantly reduced with the DIEP procedure since it preserves all the abdominal muscles.”

Dr. Chrysopoulo added that while complications can occur with any surgery, obese women may still be able to have breast reconstruction surgery, and should consult with a plastic surgeon specializing in advanced breast reconstruction techniques like the DIEP flap.

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About PRMA
PRMA Plastic Surgery in San Antonio, TX, specializes in advanced breast reconstruction using the patient's own tissue. Procedures offered include the DIEP flap, SIEA flap, GAP flap, and TUG flap. Patients are routinely welcomed from across and outside the US. In-network for most US insurance plans.

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Brandy Korman
patientadvocate@prmaplasticsurgery.com
(800) 692-5565
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