Wellness of Body, Mind and Spirit
Essential News
PSAT in the News

Skin Cancer Screening
Contact the offices of Plastic Surgery Associates of Tidewater to hear the schedule dates for the next Skin Cancer Screening
Harbour View Center
5818 Harbour View Blvd, Suite 200
Suffolk, Virginia 23435
Phone: (757) 673-6000
Fax: (757) 673-6007
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Breast Reconstruction with DIEP Flap
Dr. J. Craig Merrell, MD, FACS has been doing DIEP surgery since 2001. His qualifications to do microsurgery in general and DIEP breast reconstruction in particular are summarized below:

Fellowship Trained in Microsurgery:
    Southern Illinois University 1980-1981 with Professors Alan Van Beek, MD, FACS and Robert C. Russell, MD, FACS, FRACS.
    The International Society of Reconstructive Microsurgery and the American Society of Reconstructive Microsurgery
Operation Smile:
    a) Director Microsurgery Programs (1989 – 2005)
    b) Introduced Microsurgery to Viet Nam
    c) Performed the first DIEP flap in Vietnam in 2004.
    d) Publication of his experience: “Introduction of microsurgery in Vietnam by a charitable organization: a 15-year experience.” 1: Plast Reconstr Surg. 2007 Apr 1;119(4):1267-73
    Microsurgical Breast Reconstruction: routinely done since 1990
    DIEP Breast Reconstruction: done almost exclusively since 2001
    Dr. Merrell has done 13 flaps over the past 12 weeks since his return from a church sabbatical in France.
Success Rate:
    Overall success rate for elective microsurgical free flaps > 95% since 1983.
“I would be happy to talk to anyone that I might help. I know how it feels to be in that situation. It can be a very lonely, scary place. I was in great despair before you. Truly this operation is a great one, I felt almost as though I never had anything done. I am a complete woman!” Linda, Virginia
Thank you all once again for being so good to me. You are a wonderful group of people to work with and I was so lucky to find you before I let anyone else try to fix me up. I am so grateful for how seriously you took my need to look good after trying to settle for how I looked for so long. Now I’m making myself cry. Just wanted to try to let you know how important this has been for me and how important your positive supportive attitude has been.
Barbara, Ohio
“It would be an honor to talk to women about the DIEP surgery and your practice. It is hard for women to make such a huge decision. I hate the fact that women don’t know of the DIEP option from the very start. I went through so much unnecessary surgery before I met you. I thank God so much for our paths crossing and for you changing my life. I mean that in the physical changes, but more in the emotional and spiritual sense. I will never forget the loving care you gave me while being my Dr. “ Karen, Ohio
You performed surgery on my sister. I don’t have to tell you how devastating a diagnosis of cancer is. The whole process happened so fast. My sister went from a healthy woman to a woman who felt less that whole and very useless. She tracked you down via the internet and the rest is history. This year when I see Christmas shoppers I think of what I really wanted and I have it – my sister whole – thanks to you. The surgery has totally changed how my sister feels about herself and she says that even with the pain, she would do it again in a heartbeat.” Margie, Bahamas
You are a surgical wizard! The Harry Potter of Breasts! The Houdini of plastic surgery. I went from learning that I had cancer, then to having a body part cut off, then to realizing that my radiated skin didn’t “work right”, to a person with a black hole in her side, and then, finally, to a person with a beautiful, healed, healthy looking breast and now a wonderful nipple. Not to mention the tummy tuck which has done wonders for my self-image and my golf game. Dr. Merrell, I can’t thank you enough for all you’ve done for me. The trips to Virginia were well worth the time and trouble to find such a skilled surgeon. I grew strong in this process and I owe so much to you for helping me to maintain my status as a woman with two breasts. In retrospect, I realize how much that means to me. Michele , New York
At age 70 I had a mastectomy. One day while volunteering at the hospital I learned about a new way of doing reconstruction [DIEP]. The day before my 75th birthday I had the procedure. This was my own tissue and not something foreign. I was feeling “whole” again. Previously I had not noticed that my body was having problems with my breast missing. I thought it was me hating the prosthesis. Now that my body is whole it feels wonderful. I would recommend anyone contemplating [the DIEP flap] to “go for it”. No matter what your age, it is never too late to be “whole again”. Julia, Virginia
Schedule a conversation with a DIEP patient
As you can read in the testimonials above, many of Dr. Merrell's patients would be happy to talk about their experiences with you. They represent many women who have come from all over the United States to receive the care they deserve at PSAT. They also represent a spectrum of patients who have had surgery many years ago and some recently. Their ages vary. Some have had DIEP at the time of their mastectomy others have had failed previous reconstruction with implants and other techniques before finding Dr. Merrell. Please email Dr. Merrell at jcmmd@infionline.net to set up a conversation.