• DIEP breast reconstruction?

    Asked by debco148 on Friday, February 1, 2013

    DIEP breast reconstruction?

    Need some good advice. I had reconstruction (expander) done at time of mastectomy. Unfortunately, my skin was not healing and the expander had to come out so I could start chemo. Now, I'm scheduled for DIEP method in April. Need good advice. Is it worth it? How long were you out of commission and what advice can you give me?

    5 Answers from the Community

    5 answers
    • Nomadicme's Avatar
      Nomadicme

      From what I've heard DIEP is very tricky, ask your plastic surgeon how many he has done, and what is his rejection rate. Hopefully you can shop around for a surgeon, the more practiced the surgeon the better the outcome (still all surgeons have failure rates). A nurse that took care of me after my mastectomy/first implant op had a very successful outcome with the surgeon that operated on me. My parents told me of a woman that was getting her implant surgery done at the same time I was getting mine because the DIEP failed (different surgeon).
      I know things like whether you smoke can have an impact on rejection.
      Bottom line, if it works it's a great thing.

      about 4 years ago
    • Jaimebrie's Avatar
      Jaimebrie

      Hi Debco148,
      I had bilateral DIEP flap reconstruction and I am so happy with the results. They are amazing. I had a fabulous plastic surgeon who has done many, many DIEP procedures which is extremely important, and I have all the confidence in the world in her. It is so worth it. I am so glad I had it done. It is a huge surgery so be prepared for that. I was in the hospital for 8 days - 2 in ICU. I had PT also in the hospital which really helped me so much when I came home, with getting out of bed the right way and walking up and down stairs, etc. I came home with 8 drains. Couldn't lift anything more than 5 pounds for awhile and could not raise my arms higher than my hands at the same height as my shoulders, but all worth it. Have plenty of button down tops because you cannot put shirts over your head. I wore scrub pants and drawstrings cause they were the most comfortable. Also, there are Jacki jackets which have pockets for drains and velcro openings-I had two of them. I liked the baseball style better. I got them from my breast surgeon's office from her nurse practitioner for free. They were great. Otherwise, I just pinned the drains inside my shirt. I also had nipple reconstruction and areola tattooing which is amazing and came out fantastic! Prayers and all good positive thoughts to you. Stay strong. You will do great! If you have any more questions, please ask. Best to you!

      about 4 years ago
    • debco148's Avatar
      debco148

      Thank you both for answering me. My plastic surgeon is highly accredited in this area, in fact was part of a fellowship for this method of reconstruction. My fear is the discomfort especially in the stomach area. The mastectomy left with me with very minor pain, and even the arm movement was not an issue.. of course, I was careful, but no real issue. But, that skin at the incision just wasn't healing. I also hear that these surgeries can take a long time and I'm concerned about the amount of anesthesia and the effects of this. So many days in the hospital, etc. I know they have to reconnect blood vessels and all, but the length of surgery is scary to me. The expander was like have an alien in me, my body just didn't like it. I have until April, but I'm researching still and appreciate real experiences like I get here versus reading all the surgical mumbo jumbo.. Thanks again.

      about 4 years ago
    • Jaimebrie's Avatar
      Jaimebrie

      Hi Debco148,
      My surgery was 12 hours. I had no problems at all. I know what you mean though, because I have asthma and I was concerned about the anesthesia for such a long period of time, but it went perfectly. Yes there is alot of abdominal pain, but I had never had abdominal surgery (only 5 laparoscopic surgeries), so I did not know what to really expect. As I had said, I have a fabulous team and go to two great hospitals, with a fabulous plastic surgeon. I send you prayers and all good thoughts. Stay strong and positive. Best always, Jaimebrie

      about 4 years ago
    • MarnieC's Avatar
      MarnieC

      Hi debco148 - I'm a BC survivor of nearly 9 yrs and I had the Lat flap surgery. I wish the DIEP reconstruction had been offered to me. I have managed the loss of range of motion of my arm with yoga, etc and being really proactive with my movement therapy, which I suggest may help you as well once your surgeon gives you the okay. I have an article on my website about this type of surgery which might provide you with a little bit more info: http://marnieclark.com/types-of-reconstruction-surgery-the-diep-flap/ There are some links to videos on the page which you may (or may not!) want to see. Hope this helps you!

      about 4 years ago

    Help the community by answering this question:

    Create an account to post your answer Already have an account? Sign in!

    By using WhatNext, you agree to our User Agreement, and Privacy Policy


    Read and answer more breast cancer questions.  Also, don't forget to check out our Breast Cancer page.