What To Expect After DIEP Flap Breast Reconstruction

the MODERN Plastic Surgery & Medspa

The DIEP Flap is one of the most modern techniques available for breast reconstruction. Most women who are eligible for breast reconstruction are good candidates for this type of procedure. 

Board certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Jules Walters, has been performing the DIEP Flap breast reconstruction for many years in the New Orleans, LA area. If you are considering the DIEP Flap technique, you may have questions about the recovery process after surgery. Here are some common questions that Dr. Walters and his team answer for their patients:

When Can I Go Home After DIEP Flap Surgery?  

You will typically spend 2 nights in the hospital after your procedure and go home on the 3rd day.

How Should I Sleep?  

You will want to sleep on your back for the first few weeks until Dr. Walters advises it’s ok to sleep in other positions.

How Long Do Drains Stay In? 

Drains typically will remain for about 1 week after your procedure.

What Should I Eat? 

You do not have dietary restrictions, however, it’s best to eat a high protein diet to facilitate healing. We do, however, advise to avoid excessive caffeine intake for the first month after surgery.

Can I Do Any Physical Activities? 

You are encouraged to get up and walk around as soon as possible after your procedure, but you will be unable to participate in any strenuous exercise or heavy lifting for at least 4 weeks after your procedure or until Dr. Walters clears you to do so.

What Medicine Should I Take? 

You should only take medications prescribed or approved by Dr. Walters after your procedure.

What Is the Timeline Of DIEP Flap Recovery?


You will still have drains in place and have some discomfort which should be relieved with your prescription medications.  You will want to rest and take it easy, but also be sure to get up and walk around. You have no restrictions in regards to activities of daily living (i.e. brushing your teeth, combing your hair, etc.)


You may still have your drains in place and will start to feel like you are able to move around more freely. You should take it easy and avoid strenuous exercise.


You should be feeling much better and you can do most of your normal activities with no assistance. 


Dr. Walters clears most patients to return to work while easing back into strenuous exercise.  

Under What Circumstances Should I Call My Doctor?

If you notice redness or warmth around any of your incisions or experience a fever higher than 101, or any swelling or color changes in the flap, you should contact Dr. Walters.  At your preoperative visit, Dr. Walters and his staff will go over what is to be expected during your recovery and anything that you should bring to our attention.

If you have additional questions regarding the DIEP Flap breast reconstruction or need help determining which procedure would be best for your situation, call our New Orleans office today. 

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