Efficient DIEP Flap: Bilateral Breast Reconstruction in Less Than Four Hours

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4 Scopus citations


Introduction: The DIEP flap is considered the gold standard in autologous breast reconstruction. Despite the benefit of a lifelong natural reconstruction, some argue that the potential drawbacks, specifically operative time and recovery, are significant. We recently focused specifically on process analysis in our DIEP flap practice and present a comprehensive analysis in efficient DIEP flap breast reconstructions. Methods: Fifty consecutive bilateral DIEP flaps were prospectively tracked (100 flaps). The procedure was divided into segments (recipient site preparation, DIEP flap dissection/harvest, microsurgery, breast shaping, and abdominal closure). All individual step times were recorded for each team member. Relevant patient characteristics, intraoperative details and postoperative outcomes were recorded. Results: Average surgical time was 3 hours and 58 minutes (the fastest time recorded was 2 h and 14 min). There were no immediate postoperative complications. The anastomotic revision rate was 6%. Four surgeons contributed 34.7% of the time, three surgeons 32.2% of the time, two surgeons 23.6% of the time, and one surgeon 4.8% of total time. In procedures under 4 hours, four surgeons contributed simultaneously 36.7% of the time compared to 21.8% in the longer procedures (P = 0.004). Four surgeons contributed 45.4% of the time (P = 0.01) in the sub-three-hour bilateral DIEP flap procedures. Conclusions: Efficient DIEP flap breast reconstruction can be accomplished with a well-trained and coordinated team approach involving like-minded surgeons with extensive experience working together. The synergistic map shows constant movement with utilization of hidden time, without sacrificing education, outcomes, or innovation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere3801
JournalPlastic and Reconstructive Surgery - Global Open
StateAccepted/In press - 2021
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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