Stacked FlapSM Breast Reconstruction Surgery
WHAT IS STACKED FLAP℠ BREAST RECONSTRUCTION?
Pioneered at our Center in 2007, the Stacked Flap℠ breast reconstruction procedure is a DIEP (deep inferior epigastric perforator flap) solution for thin women who need reconstruction of a single breast.
The Stacked DIEP Flap℠ procedure allows excess living fat to be transplanted from the abdominal tissue for the recreation of a new breast after mastectomy. The fat is collected from the donor site, much like a tummy tuck procedure.
For women with small abdominal blood vessels and less fat to give, the Stacked DIEP Flap℠ breast reconstruction allows layering, or “stacking,” the available amount of fat for additional volume and projection in the new breast. The Stacked Flap℠ gives women with a thin lower abdomen a new option to restore the breast after mastectomy.
WHEN IS STACKED FLAP℠ BREAST RECONSTRUCTION USED?
Stacked Flap℠ breast reconstruction uses the tissue flap to recreate a soft, natural breast for women facing mastectomy after breast cancer. An autologous breast reconstruction procedure, Stacked Flap℠ breast reconstruction is performed when the tummy tissue is too thin for an ordinary DIEP Flap or APEX Flap℠ procedure. This produces a larger breast and allows the incision in the tummy to be kept lower in the bikini line.
In most circumstances, the Stacked Flap℠ procedure can be done on the same day as the mastectomy; this is known as “immediate reconstruction.” For women with previous mastectomies, the Stacked DIEP Flap℠ may be performed after treatment. This is known as “delayed reconstruction.”
Most women are candidates for immediate reconstruction, so speaking with your team prior to your mastectomy about reconstruction is important.
Occasionally, a “bridging implant” reconstruction is used before DIEP breast reconstruction. This allows women with more advanced diseases requiring radiation treatment to benefit from skin sparing or a Nipple Sparing Mastectomy.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF STACKED FLAP℠ BREAST RECONSTRUCTION?
There are several benefits of the Stacked DIEP Flap℠ reconstruction technique. The recreation of the breast with soft, warm, living fat is permanent and doesn’t require maintenance imaging or repeat surgeries. For women who’ve undergone mastectomy in the past, stacked DIEP flaps allow for the avoidance of tissue expanders.
An important benefit of the Stacked Flap℠ over the TRAM Flap or other outdated procedures is that the abdominal muscle is protected and core strength is preserved. This allows for the avoidance of placing artificial mesh into the abdomen and prevents hernias and long-term abdominal weakness.
Women who undergo the Stacked Flap℠ breast reconstruction also benefit from improved abdominal shape, much like a “tummy tuck.” Taking less fat from each side and using this layering technique also allows the donor incision to be kept lower than is otherwise possible.
This produces an associated flatter, tighter abdomen, which is a nice compliment to the newly reconstructed breast.
WHAT ARE THE RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH STACKED FLAP℠ BREAST RECONSTRUCTION?
As with any surgery, the risks of stacked flaps can be minimized by carefully following your pre-surgical instructions. If you have other medical problems or factors that increase your risk, we will work with you to educate you on proper preparation and arrange your clinical care regimen to maximize your safety and ensure a successful recovery.
WHAT TO EXPECT THROUGHOUT THE STACKED FLAP℠ PROCEDURE PROCESS
PRE-SURGERY OFFICE VISIT
In most cases, you will be seen in our office 1-2 days prior to your Stacked Flap℠ breast reconstruction. At that time, we will go over the planned procedure, review consents, answer any questions you may have, and apply any surgical planning markings as may be required.
When you arrive at St. Charles Surgical Hospital, you will be escorted to the preoperative holding area, where you will change into a gown and be given foot coverings. The nurse or anesthesiologist will start an IV so that fluids and necessary medications may be given to you. Family members will be allowed to visit with you in the preoperative area once you are prepared for surgery.
Your procedure will be performed in a state-of-the-art operating suite that is part of a fully accredited hospital that has been recognized by the American College of Surgeons for Excellence in care quality. Highly trained professionals using the most modern equipment and techniques will attend to you.
In addition to your surgeons, the surgical team includes anesthesiologists, operating room technicians, nurses, and physician assistants.
AFTER YOUR PROCEDURE
After your surgery is complete, you will awaken in the recovery room under warm blankets with a dedicated nursing attendant at your side. You will be carefully monitored and kept comfortable. You will then be transferred to a private inpatient room that is prepared to allow you to rest and recover under the supervision of your attending physician and nurses. One adult caregiver may stay with you overnight during your hospitalization. A fold-out Murphy bed will be integrated into your room for individualized comfort.
RETURNING HOME POST-OPERATION
If you are traveling from out of state or internationally for care with us, your caregiver will need to be with you throughout your stay post-discharge and on the same flight home to assist you at the airport. Your caregiver’s education will be provided by our nursing staff during your time with us and our team is available to you and your assistant 24 hours/day should any questions arise after you are released from the hospital. Your arrangements for assistance after surgery should include an estimated seven to ten days of availability from your caregiver.
WE ARE HERE FOR YOU
Be reassured that you are being attended to by some of the most highly skilled and dedicated healthcare providers in the world. Do your best to relax knowing that we are going to take excellent care of you from the moment you enter our facility.
Do not hesitate to ask for any special needs you may have.
Whether you’ve been just diagnosed or you’ve already been deemed a candidate for the Stacked DIEP Flap℠ procedure, our team stands ready to help. Schedule an education call with us today to learn more about your options and possible results.
Hear From Our Patients
“Recovery is going very well only two and a half weeks after surgery. Looking back over the past two months I cannot believe the whole process has moved along so quickly and so well”