with SIEA Flap (Superficial Inferior Epigastric Artery Flap)
The SIEA flap is similar to the DIEP flap procedure for breast reconstruction. Both techniques use the lower abdominal skin and fatty tissue to reconstruct a natural, soft breast following immediate or delayed mastectomy.
The artery used to supply blood flow to the new breast is the main difference between SIEA and DIEP flap. The SIEA blood vessels are found in the fatty tissue just below skin whereas the DIEP blood vessels run below and within the abdominal muscle, making the surgical dissection more technically challenging. While the surgical preparation is slightly different, both procedures spare the abdominal muscle and only use the patient's skin and fat to reconstruct the breast.
Though the SIEA is similar to the DIEP, it is used less frequently since the arteries required are generally too small to sustain the flap in most patients. Less than 20% of patients have the anatomy required to allow this procedure. Unfortunately, there are no reliable pre-operative tests to show which patients have the appropriate anatomy. The decision as to which type of reconstruction to perform is therefore made intra-operatively by the plastic surgeon based on the patient's anatomy.
Similar to DIEP flap procedure, patients receive an abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) at the same time as an added benefit to SIEA flap breast reconstruction.
For more information or consultation, please call our clinic at (916) 734-7844.