This procedure is similar to the DIEP flap. The tissue used to reconstruct the breast comes from the lower abdomen and consists of skin and fat only; no muscle is used. But the blood vessels are “superficial,” that is, above the muscle. (SIEA stands for superficial inferior epigastric artery, referring to these blood vessels.) So the muscle is not only not used, it isn’t even manipulated. This leads to an even faster recovery and leaves the abdominal wall even stronger.
However, a SIEA flap is not appropriate for women whose superficial inferior epigastric vessels are too small, or are not the dominant blood supply to the tissue used to reconstruct the breast.
Removing tissue from the abdomen means you end up with a “tummy tuck” (a smaller, flatter midsection) which many women see as an advantage to this surgery. A reconstructed breast that uses abdominal tissue feels more like a natural breast to anyone touching it, though the reconstructed breast will have little or no sensation for you.
Because of its complexity, SIEA flap surgery is not available everywhere. Our surgeons are experts in the procedure, and have helped earn Strong its reputation as a leader in the field.