DIEP flap

DIEP flap breast reconstruction, Sheffield

The DIEP (deep inferior epigastric artery perforator) flap is considered the gold standard method of breast reconstruction.  In contrast to the TRAM (transverse rectus abdominis muscle) flap, no abdominal muscle is removed with the DIEP flap meaning there is a much lower chance of abdominal wall bulge or hernia following a DIEP flap procedure than with a TRAM flap.  This procedure involves the transfer of the patient’s abdominal skin and fat to reconstruct a breast.  This is the same tissue that would typically be removed if a patient had a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty).  In contrast to breast reconstruction using breast implants, using the patient’s own tissue has the advantage of the reconstructed breast feeling natural (warm, soft), ageing naturally, and does not wear out (breast implants are not designed to last for the patient’s whole life).  Mr Morritt has popularised the DIEP flap breast reconstruction in Sheffield. He regularly undertakes these operations at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Sheffield. Mr Morritt frequently performs the DIEP procedure for patients from Yorkshire, Derbyshire, Lincolnshire & Nottinghamshire and has treated patients from as far away as France.

 

Sheffield Teaching Hospitals have pioneered joint consultant surgeon operating for abdominal based breast reconstruction. This has significantly improved outcomes and shortened operation times ultimately resulting in quicker recovery from surgery and less complications. Mr Morritt and his team regularly undertake immediate breast reconstruction (where reconstruction is performed at the time of mastectomy) and delayed breast reconstruction (reconstruction is performed at a separate operation which may be years after the patient has had a mastectomy).

 

SIEA flap breast reconstruction

Mr Morritt has also pioneered the use of the SIEA (superficial inferior epigastric artery) flap in Sheffield. This procedure uses the same abdominal tissue as in the DIEP flap but has the added advantage that there is no damage to the internal abdominal muscles. Recovery is therefore quicker and less painful than with the DIEP or TRAM operations. In the majority of patients having abdominal tissue based reconstruction, the blood supply to the abdominal tissue favours the DIEP or TRAM flaps and so the SIEA flap can only be performed in selected cases.