What's the recovery time for a DIEP flap for breast cancer treatment?

Johns Hopkins Medicine

A deep inferior epigastric artery perforator (DIEP) flap procedure is a procedure used to reconstruct a woman's breast following cancer treatment. It takes about four to six weeks to recover from a deep inferior epigastric artery perforator (DIEP) flap procedure and resume most normal activities. You will be sore for about a week or two and then begin to improve every day.

Following your surgery, you will stay in the hospital for three or four days. You will be able to eat the next day after surgery, and you will be able to get out of bed and walk with assistance on the second day after surgery. While at home you will be able to do all activities of daily living. Heavy or strenuous activity should be avoided until follow-up with your surgeon. You will also have three to four surgical drains depending on whether one or two breasts are reconstructed. In most circumstances, these drains will remain in for one to two weeks. If they are highly productive, they will stay in longer.

Continue Learning about Breast Reconstruction Surgery

Breast Reconstruction Surgery

Breast Reconstruction Surgery

Women who have aggressive forms of breast cancer, or who are at high risk of developing the disease, sometimes choose to have a mastectomy, the surgical removal of one or both breasts. Some patients may then choose to have surgery ...

to reconstruct their breasts to restore their form and shape. During this procedure, doctors can replace any skin, breast tissue or a nipple that they may have removed during the surgery. (If you still need radiation therapy after your mastectomy, your doctor may suggest you wait for reconstructive surgery until after you finish treatment.) Breast implants, filled with either silicone or saline, can be used to reshape your breast, or you can even use your own tissue, a procedure called flap surgery. Both breast implants and flap surgery are complex procedures, each with their own risks; they may require second surgeries to position the breasts correctly. Most insurance companies will cover this type of reconstructive surgery. Learn more about breast reconstruction with expert advice from Sharecare.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.