Source – https://www.ktbs.com/
SHREVEPORT, La. — The most advanced form of breast reconstruction surgery available is the Deep Inferior Epigastric Perforator (DIEP) Flap Breast Reconstruction surgery and CHRISTUS Shreveport-Bossier Health System was the first in the region to perform the surgery last November.
DIEP Flap surgery is a microsurgery that requires extensive surgical skill. Dr. Marjorie Chelly performs the surgeries.
“A flap is taken from the abdomen, then we use a microscope to connect the veins and the arteries together,” said Chelly. “And then we shape the tissue that we’ve taken from the abdomen in order to recreate a breast.”
Ebony Gage Spraggins had the DIEP Flap surgery in May.
“They told me they could take a part of my body and recreate breasts. I had never heard of this before,” Spraggins said. “And then they said, tummy tuck, okay, excuse me? So, you’re going to remove the tummy and make me completely fabulous. I was completely in!”
“The ideal patient is usually a woman who’s had a few children who has a little extra abdominal tissue,” explained Chelly. “And because her abdomen has been descending from her pregnancies, and she needs to be an overall good health.”
The surgery is performed by two to three plastic surgeons and can be done at the same time a patient has a mastectomy.
“We have a team approach to the process, and so we can work simultaneously with the breast surgeons,” Chelly said. “And then after they’re done with a mastectomy, we can complete our portion and do it at the same time.”
It is a major surgery and requires significant recovery time. For Spraggins, she was in the hospital for four days. It took a couple of months for her to get back to normal.
“I didn’t realize how much I used the core of my stomach for everything,” said Spraggins. “When I finally decided to slow down and stop being the old Ebony and just lay down and rest and enjoy life, I began to heal a lot quicker.
While the surgery is intense, there are immense benefits.
“They don’t really have to worry about following up with this tissue,” explained Chelly. “You can’t get breast cancer in this tissue because it’s getting fat from your abdomen so you’re not going to regrow tumor in this tissue.”
“I feel amazing. I really do. I feel a difference,” Spraggins said.
Would she recommend this surgery?
“Yes, yes, 100% yes! If you’re removing the bad things, and God is giving you another chance, I would say go for it,” exclaimed Spraggins. “It is so worth it.”
Chelly and the team at CHRISTUS performed their first surgery in November. They are on track to perform 20-25 DIEP Flap surgeries in 2020.