DIEP Flap Breast Reconstruction Specialist

Anthony Echo, MD -  - Plastic Surgeon

Anthony Echo, MD

Plastic Surgeon & Reconstructive Surgeon located in Houston, TX

DIEP flap breast reconstruction is an advanced procedure to rebuild your breast after a mastectomy, creating natural results by using excess fat and skin from your abdomen. Anthony Echo, MD, is a highly experienced microsurgeon with advanced training in peripheral nerve surgery, a unique combination of skills that are essential for performing a DIEP flap reconstruction. Dr. Echo can also reconnect the nerves to restore breast sensation and prevent post-mastectomy pain. To schedule a consultation, use the online booking feature or call one of the offices in Houston Methodist Hospital or the Willowbrook neighborhood in Houston, Texas.

DIEP Flap Breast Reconstruction Q&A

 

What is breast reconstruction?

Breast reconstruction refers to surgery to rebuild your breasts, restoring their normal shape, size, and appearance after a mastectomy or an extensive lumpectomy.

You may have your breast reconstruction at the same time as your cancer surgery, or you may need to delay reconstruction until after you finish radiation therapy and chemotherapy. You can schedule a delayed reconstruction months or years after your original cancer surgery.

What is a DIEP flap breast reconstruction?

The DIEP (deep inferior epigastric artery perforator) flap procedure uses your own skin and fat that Dr. Echo removes from your abdomen and transfers it to your breast. An important part of the procedure is that the rectus abdominis muscle is not taken. This is important to maintain strength on the abdominal wall.

After carefully dissecting the tissues from your abdomen, he performs microsurgery to reconnect the small blood vessels from the DIEP flap to the blood vessels in your chest. 

What benefits do I gain with a DIEP flap breast reconstruction?

You gain several advantages when you choose a DIEP reconstruction, as you: 

Avoid implants

If you want to avoid saline or silicone implants, you can get a soft, natural breast reconstruction using your own body tissues.

Remove Excess Abdominal Tissue

To have a DIEP flap reconstruction, you need to have some extra fat on your abdomen. The benefit is that you get to flatten your abdomen at the same time that you restore your breast. 

Regain skin sensation

The biggest complaint many women have after a mastectomy is that they don’t have any feeling in their new breast because the nerves were cut when the cancerous breast tissue was removed. 

As a highly trained and skilled microvascular surgeon with fellowship training in peripheral nerve surgery, Dr. Echo can repair the nerves during the reconstruction. 

Can I get a DIEP flap reconstruction after implant complications?

Some women who initially chose to use breast implants to restore their breasts have complications with their implants. If that happens, Dr. Echo can remove your implant and perform DIEP flap reconstruction to correct the problem and rebuild your breast.

The Women’s Health and Cancer Act of 1998 states that insurance companies must cover breast cancer reconstruction, as well as subsequent surgeries. That includes surgery to repair complications that occur years after your initial reconstruction.

How important is the surgeon’s skill level for surgery?

Compared to most other breast reconstruction procedures performed, the DIEP flap is one of the most technically demanding procedures that Dr. Echo offers. While many surgeons offer the procedure, most are “general” plastic surgeons, who stopped their education after residency. 

They never completed a microsurgery fellowship to be able to optimize your results. Dr. Echo completed not only a microsurgery fellowship at Stanford University but also a Peripheral nerve surgery fellowship at Washington University in St. Louis. This experience makes him uniquely qualified to do the DIEP flap procedure and repair nerves in the breast. 

If you need a skilled microsurgeon for breast reconstruction, call Anthony Echo, MD, or schedule an appointment online.

If you need a skilled microsurgeon for breast reconstruction, call Anthony Echo, MD, or schedule an appointment online.