• Reconstruction: DIEP flap or implants

    Asked by Steph921 on Thursday, November 8, 2012

    Reconstruction: DIEP flap or implants

    I'm about to have a bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction at the same time. My ps says I'm a good candidate for the DIEP flap procedure but I am also considering just getting implants. Can anyone share their experiences with either one? Pros and cons?

    8 Answers from the Community

    8 answers
    • karen1956's Avatar

      i have silicone implants....didn't look at any other types of recon as no one really did the other types here in 2006....I'm content with the implants....they are soft and in clothes look natural.....As I had radiation, there were some difficulties, but I've these implants for 4+ years and so far so good.....I didn't do finishing touches because of the radiation...but thats okay by me......all the best to you...

      over 8 years ago
    • bethmac3s' Avatar

      There are many pros and cons to both. I have gel implants, and my friend had the Diep Flap. Recovery for the implants is much faster. 7 hour surgery plus two day hospital stay. The Diep Flap is a 14 hour, 5 day stay, one day in the ICU. With implants, you have the expanders, which are pretty uncomfortable, also you have to have the implants replaced every 10 years. They feel soft, and I am pretty happy with them. With the DIEP, they use your own fat, so there is no future surgeries. The only thing is, you may need fat injections to fill out because sometimes your body reabsorbs the fat originally put in. If you want to talk more, feel free to contact me! Good luck with your decision.

      over 8 years ago
    • Nancebeth's Avatar

      I considered DIEP flap, TRAM flap and ended up with implants. I was able to have my implants put in during the same surgery as my mastectomy. My breast surgeon and plastic surgeon worked together. I just had the left implant replaced but it was a very simple procedure. Implants do have a shelf life but I know women who have had the same implants for 30 years. Mine are Natrelle, a gel implant that feels very soft and natural.

      over 8 years ago
    • grt42btexan's Avatar

      You are near one of the absolute best breast centers in the country and they do amazing DIEP with fantastic results. I am traveling there next week from Dallas for one of the final phases. I had DIEP this past February and am beyond happy I did it. I did not want a foreign object in my body that required additional work if they ruptured or got old. I was only 49 and wanted as much as my body back. It is a hard surgery and recovery but so worth it if you have a good support system. And the tummy tuck is such an added bonus. I have feeling in my warm soft breasts ( not the nipples....sad but true) and look great in tops. Breast cancer is awful but DIEP gave me back my self confidence.

      over 8 years ago
    • Ydnar2xer's Avatar

      Hi Steph! I haven't had reconstruction yet--am looking forward to it in the spring/summer after I finish chemo--but have chosen DIEP over implants for many of the reasons listed above. I prefer the more natural shape breasts that DIEP offers (not so "round") plus the tummy tuck is beyond the best news I've had since my diagnosis! My p/surgeon in Seattle is head of the department and specializes in DIEP which made my decision easy to make. Waiting for the procedure isn't a problem...am concentrating on getting rid of cancer NOW, later on, will be able to concentrate only on reconstruction. Also, the additional time is letting me decide what size I choose to be this time around! I will update as I get into procedure, but I am sold on DIEP.

      over 8 years ago
    • Blepta's Avatar

      I had a bilateral mastectomy with silicone implants in 2007 as a preventive measure because I have the BRCA1 mutation. The two surgeons and a friendly mammography technician that I consulted with all said that I would be the happiest with this form of reconstruction in my situation. I was a little disappointed that I would not loose the tummy flab, so I decided to have a tummy tuck as well. I am very satisfied with the results and have not had any problems.

      over 8 years ago
    • MarnieC's Avatar

      Hi Steph - I've recently written a series of articles about types of reconstruction surgery that might be helpful to you - I tried to include the pro's and con's of each one - here's a link to all the articles I've written about breast cancer surgery, so just scroll through the articles till you find the one that interests you: http://marnieclark.com/category/breast-cancer-surgery/
      Hope that helps in some small way. Sending hugs from Denver!

      over 8 years ago
    • DaveWaz's Avatar

      Thank you for sharing your experience and for encouraging other WhatNexters to do the same. This is what we're all about! I hope all is well.

      Your question reminded me of some content we have on reconstruction experiences.




      It also reminded me to let WhatNexters know about our Beginner's Guide to Cancer, including a guide on how women chose between a lumpectomy and mastectomy.


      Best of luck to all,

      over 7 years ago

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