I had a bad experience with an expander that failed and was in for 21 months before I was able to have the DIEP. I had it put in at time of unilateral mastectomy in August 2012 then it was left alone until after Chemo and radiation. They started filling it May 30th of 2013 and I immediately began having pain and tightness and had to begin OT by November my plastic surgeon suggested that I might be a candidate for DIEP but that there was only one surgeon as far as he knew in OK that could do it. Needless to say I went for consult but had to wait for surgery I was scheduled which was May of this year. I don't have a lot of fat so my option was one breast the same size as my other breast or have a prophylactic and have to small boobs. I opted for the double. The problem though was there was so much damage from the expander and radiation that that breast ended up about a cup smaller. So just a week and a half ago she put in a small silicone implant. Now they look much the same although I am still in the swelling stage. My experience overall with the DIEP is it is so much more comfortable than that miserable expander. I still have back pain often and am very tight in my stomach. I have always had a small frame and when I would put on a little bit of weight it stayed in my stomach. So now I am flat and a size 2/3 instead of 4/5. I do love the flat stomach and the way I look in clothes but when I am naked I definitely have scars, however I have seen plenty of photos online and I must say my outcome has been good. I will probably never wear a low rise bikini again but I am 42 now so it's probably time to hang that anyway. I didn't want to do the implant because I was afraid of the it hurting like the expander but it is nothing like it so far. I just wanted to look normal without a bra or in my pj's or swimsuit. I suffer from trunkal lymphadema and was also afraid of the increased swelling but so far it has been manageable with my compression bra I and massage. Good luck to you on your surgery, and be patient with the pain it will eventually subside.
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- Member Since Nov 2011
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digger6218 asked a questionBreast Cancer
Reconstruction after reconstruction
Thank you all for your stories. The majority sound positive.my surgeon is fellowship trained in microsurgery. He is at the Arizona Cancer center and also does face transplants. He comes highly recommended from the surgeon that did my mastectomy. One thing with the implants is they itch constantly and since I can only feel the top part, it is very frustrating. He said with this reconstruction , the itching will stop. I hate when I bend over these XXX move up. The muscles over the implants don't move easily and hurt at times.
MD: 2004, AOA, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ
2010, Plastic Surgery, Georgetown University, Washington DC
2011, Microvascular Reconstructive Surgery Fellowship, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
digger..you look like you are totally covered in the PS department! I think you are going to be very very happy with the results...I know others mentioned lots of pain...I can't say I ever remember being in lots of pain. I also had asked my PS if I had to avoid steps and he said no...they don't cut any muscle in the tummy area. He was right. I was pretty flexible and surprised. The tummy took a bit of nurturing to heal, but it is just now about a year later and I'm totally happy that I did it! I think you will be happy to be rid of the implants and even though you remain more numb in the areas of surgery you sort of get used to it and you feel normal. I think you will be very happy..keep us in the loop and best of luck!