DIEP tissue flap [also called deep inferior epigastric perforator tissue flap]

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This is a flap of skin and fat taken from the lower abdomen. It is used for breast reconstruction. Its advantage over the TRAM flap method of breast reconstruction is that it does not use the abdominal wall muscle. This tends to shorten recovery time. It also keeps the abdominal wall strong. Some women consider the "tummy tuck" that this procedure gives to be an added benefit. Its disadvantage relative to the TRAM flap is that it requires surgery with a microscope. This is because the surgeon has to reattach the belly blood vessel to a new blood supply in the breast area. This technique is not widely available.

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Audio contributed by: Katie Couric

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