SIEA (Alternative to DIEP)
In some cases, the superficial vessels in a woman’s abdomen provide more blood flow to that area than the blood vessel harvested with the DIEP flap.
When that happens, the surgeon will use the superficial inferior epigastric artery (SIEA) as the main source of blood for the tissue that is being transferred from the abdomen for breast reconstruction.
Removing an SIEA flap is less invasive but is used less often because the corresponding artery is too small in the majority of patients. Your plastic surgeons will decide to use an SIEA or DIEP flap during the procedure once they’ve sized up your abdominal blood vessels.
The procedure for transferring the SIEA flap is otherwise very similar to the DIEP procedure as plastic surgeons use microsurgery to attach the blood vessels in the tissue flap to those at the mastectomy site. Either way, the abdominal muscles are left strong and intact.