DIEP Flap Breast Reconstruction at PRMA: Patient’s Experience

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Patients report significant improvements in breast satisfaction, psychological, and sexual well-being after DIEP flap reconstruction, according to research from PRMA Plastic Surgery.

“We have seen patients gain substantial benefits with accelerated recovery and overall well-being. Although no individual can guarantee zero pain, our patient’s overall satisfaction has greatly improved and pain scores have greatly reduced.”

The DIEP flap is the most advanced breast reconstruction technique currently available today. At PRMA, it is also the recommended method. The procedure uses the patient's own abdominal skin and fat. After a mastectomy, the tissue is used to recreate a natural, warm, soft breast. The DIEP, unlike the TRAM flap, preserves all of the abdominal muscles. Skin and fat are the only things that are removed. Similar to a "tummy tuck," the tissue is removed. Patients will have less pain if the abdominal muscles are preserved. Patients also benefit from a quicker recovery time. They are able to maintain core strength long-term, and have a lower risk of abdominal complications.

PRMA is the only center in San Antonio, Texas, and one of only a handful of centers worldwide to provide breast reconstruction on such a large scale. Our surgeons see patients from all across the globe.

DIEP flap breast reconstruction can make a dramatic difference for women who have had one or both breasts removed. Just ask Priscilla Ramirez.

Priscilla Ramirez is 39 years old and was diagnosed in March 2021 with stage 1 grade 3 IDC, HER-, ER and PR+ breast cancer. She decided to have DIEP flap breast reconstruction at PRMA through the videos she found of patients’ stories on YouTube.

“I was intrigued and felt very comfortable with this procedure because I would no longer have breast tissue which would decrease the chance of recurrence,” shares Ramirez. “I was so lucky to get an appointment at PRMA, where I met Dr. Andrew Gassman. He made me feel comfortable and confident in choosing to go with PRMA for this procedure.”

Priscilla had her surgery on May 26, 2021. “I chose the DIEP flap with non-nipple sparing because of the extra weight I was carrying in my abdomen area,” explained Ramirez. “I was shocked out how little the pain was!”

To combat this fear and to elevate patient care, the world-renowned plastic surgeons at PRMA Plastic Surgery have implemented their Enhanced Recovery After Surgery Protocol.

PRMA’s Enhanced Recovery Protocol begins the morning before breast reconstruction surgery and ensures pain control is already in place before the surgery begins. During surgery, an anesthetic known as “blocks'' is injected into the surgical site to manage the pain and discomfort immediately after surgery. Typically, all patients need to control their post-operative discomfort at PRMA are Celebrex, Gabapentin, and Tylenol. Many patients choosing to undergo breast reconstruction at PRMA rarely use any narcotics during their recovery.

“Our ERAS protocol is a systematic approach to pain medication that allows our patients to gain the maximum benefits in 5 to 6 different types of medication categories whereby the benefits of each medication are optimized and their overall risk profile is minimized,” shares PRMA Plastic Surgeon Dr. Andrew Gassman. “We have seen patients gain substantial benefits with accelerated recovery and overall well-being. Although no individual can guarantee zero pain, our patient’s overall satisfaction has greatly improved and pain scores have greatly reduced.”

PRMA’s ERAS protocol also includes a carbohydrate drink patients can consume before surgery. This drink helps the body process anesthesia quicker and optimizes healing. These new steps have vastly improved patient recovery following breast reconstruction surgery and have decreased hospital stay as well.

“I am extremely happy with the results thus far. It is amazing the work that PRMA Plastic Surgery can do. Dr. Gassman gave me back the confidence I had lost.” shares Ramirez.

Ramirez says she would advise others to do their research and try to familiarize themselves with all their options for breast reconstruction. It’s a big decision to make that affects the rest of your life!

About PRMA

PRMA Plastic Surgery in San Antonio, Texas, specializes in state-of-the-art breast reconstruction. Procedures offered include the DIEP flap, SIEA flap, GAP flap, TUG flap, fat grafting, vascularized lymph node transfer, TruSense℠, and nipple-sparing mastectomy. PRMA is In-Network for most US insurance plans and routinely welcomes patients from across and outside the US.

Our Mission

We are dedicated to promoting an environment of compassion, concern and support for every patient regardless of social or economic status and regardless of type of insurance. We will strive to not only support the patient and their family but also to support each other as the ever-changing field of medicine becomes more complex. Honesty and integrity, compassion and caring, make up the foundation of PRMA and at no point shall these principles be compromised.

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Lana Cobb
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