Getting Ready for a DIEP Flap Surgery

breast reconstruction houstonWhether you’re a Houston woman getting ready for a combined mastectomy and breast reconstruction surgery, or you’ve already had your mastectomy and are now prepping for breast reconstruction via DIEP Flap, you likely have a lot of questions. To help you answer those and prepare you for your upcoming surgery, we’ve made this list of what you should do to get ready for a DIEP flap surgery.

  1. Get Educated on Your Procedure

When you’re getting any surgery, it’s important that you are well informed about the procedure before undergoing it, which is why Dr. Fusi & Dr. Craig spend so much time explaining breast reconstruction surgeries to their Houston patients. In the case of a DIEP flap, you should know that the procedure is muscle-sparing, meaning no muscles will be cut our used and that we use your abdominal skin, tissue, and blood supply to reconstruct your breasts.

  1. Know Your Insurance Rights

Breast augmentations are elective surgeries, and rarely covered by insurance. But, your insurance rights are different in Houston and throughout the US when it comes to a breast reconstruction, such as a DIEP flap, after a mastectomy. The Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act of 1998 requires that if your group insurance company pays for a mastectomy, it must also pay for breast reconstruction. This legislation covers you whether you are getting your breast reconstruction during your mastectomy, or weeks or years later. Medicare will also pay for breast reconstruction.

The story may be slightly different if you’re on Medicaid, and there may be some restrictions placed on breast reconstruction, such as requiring you to use an in-network provider. The best thing you can do prior to your DIEP flap surgery is to get an Explanation of Benefits (EOB) from your insurance provider, so you know exactly what to expect regarding insurance payment for your surgery.

  1. Stay as Healthy as Possible

Any time you’re facing surgery, it’s important to stay away from people who have colds or the flu and to maintain a healthy lifestyle before your procedure. The same is true if you’re getting a DIEP flap by Houston plastic surgeons Dr. Fusi & Dr. Craig. Eat healthily, drink plenty of water, and exercise if you’re able to before your breast reconstruction surgery.

  1. If You Smoke, Quit Now

Smoking is never good for your health, but it’s especially harmful if you’re facing surgery. Side effects of smoking can complicate a DIEP flap surgery, and its recovery period, making the surgery difficult as well as your recovery. If you need help quitting smoking, talk to Dr. Fusi & Dr. Craig about getting enrolled in a smoking cessation program.

  1. Prepare in Advance for Your Recovery

Recovering from a DIEP flap surgery takes time for Houston women. Make your recovery easier on yourself by filling your pain medication prescriptions before your surgery, planning a comfortable sleeping position – either with extra pillows or in a recliner as you won’t be able to sleep on your stomach while you’re recovering. And don’t forget to come up with a meal preparation plan.

If you have any other questions about preparing for a DIEP flap surgery, contact Dr. Fusi & Dr. Craig by calling (713) 346-9909.