How Long Does a DIEP Flap Procedure Take? What Is the Recovery Time?

This week Charleston breast surgeons Dr. James Craigie and Dr. Richard M. Kline, Jr. of The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction answer your questions about DIEP flap surgery. 


Q: Approximately how long does the DIEP flap surgery take on one breast?


A: Thanks for your question.

A unilateral DIEP typically takes from 3-6 hours, depending on whether you already have had a mastectomy, and on how complicated the microvascular anatomy of your particular flap turns out to be.

Richard M. Kline, MD

Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction

Q: I do not personally know anyone that has had DIEP flap surgery. What should I expect within the first two to three weeks of recovery after DIEP flap surgery?

A: The first 4 days will be in the hospital, the next three weeks you will be very mobile but no driving. After one month your drains will be out and you will feel much better. Over the next 6-8 weeks you should be getting back to normal. Let me know we will be glad to let you talk to one of our patients who is in a similar situation.

See you soon.

James E Craigie, MD

Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction

Have a question about breast reconstruction you’d like answered from our surgical team? Just ask us!