DIEP Flap Reconstruction

April 2, 2015 - 15:19

Hi there, just looking for confirmation that all is normal after my surgery!!!

I am 2 weeks after a DIEP Flap reconstruction on my left breast - is it normal to be very swollen?? I'm home now but just about walking around a little as my tummy is very tight and that appears to be where all the pain is. All drains have been removed and I've been back to the dressing clinic already and am going again tomorrow. My PS seems to be happy enough but he may have to do a small procedure where some of the blood vessels didn't take but that will be in a few weeks time.

My breast looks double the size of my normal breast and I'm just wondering if that is normal? Or am I being very impatient!

April 2, 2015 - 21:32

Hey Spudburf...congratulations on getting the surgery done!

I was a lat dorsi girl so not the same surgery but if it any consolation I felt my new foob (and much of it was made up of an implant) was HUGH compared to the other post surgery. Apparently swelling is really normal with any type of surgery and for the one you have just had given what has been moved about, I'd say swelling is completely normal around the new foob. I cannot remember exactly but I think it can take up to 3 months for all the swelling to subside and the new foob to look "normal".

After my initial lumpectomy back in 2009, I got an infection - what was left of my boob filled up with fluid, got really big and somewhere along the line it got infected (internally). The boob was all red and I felt like crap. in your case the probability of an infection is really low but keep an eye out for redness. As you are going to see the medics tomorrow ask them their opinion. Are you on any antibio's post surgery?? Maybe ask if you should be. Better still see if they might prescribe a broad spectrum antibiotic, given the weekend that is in it, so that if you feel there might be an infection you can fill the script and start taking something.

Are you still on pain relief?? Don't be a martyr if you are supposed to be taking stuff to ease the pain. You have had MAJOR surgery - no point in feeling awful if you don't need to!

Take it easy but it is probably wise to try to move about a little but be guided by your body.


April 4, 2015 - 09:51

Hi spudburf, i hope youre doing well post op. I will be 4weeks from diep next Tuesday so i am just about a week ahead of you i think? I dont have a huge amount of swelling on my new breast but there is definitely some. I also feel a bit puffy in general. How is your tummy feeling? I had nearly all my dressing removed except a few steri strips on my abdomen. Im still very tight in tummy but its improving day by day.

I just thought i would share as we are in similar circumstances.

Take care...

April 11, 2015 - 17:18

Thanks for the replies ladies. Unfortunately I have some necrosis on the new breast (underneath) and have to go into hospital again to have this sorted out but only as a day patient. It looks horrific and is extremely painful but I'm hoping after this procedure it should all start to heal properly. My tummy is healing well Iala but I'm still not standing straight as I feel I will rip it apart if I do but I know that will ok given time. Its now just over 3 weeks since surgery and my PS team are keeping a good eye on me so I'm in good hands. My new breast feels huge though and I'm so looking forward to it all healing and getting back to normal. To be honest this has turned out to be a much bigger operation than I expected and I did loads of research prior to it all.

And I'm taking my painkillers LindyLu - have no fear as I'm no martyr!!! But having the craziest dreams - someone mentioned I should write them down and turn them into a book!!! ha ha...

Thanks for sharing - it really helps to hear from others

April 16, 2015 - 10:31

Hi Spudburf,

Just wondering how you are doing? Ive had a couple of spots oozing on my tummy so ive been back to the clinic a few times. They dont think its infected and have said that sometimes this happens and it will close eventually. Sooner, I hope!

i had a drive on Tuesday which was 5weeks exactly from date of operation.

How is your new boob these days? any better?


April 25, 2015 - 11:36

Hi Iala,

I had another operation on Wednesday to tidy up the breast and take away all the dead flesh. It now looks much better but is extremely sore and is bleeding a bit. I met my PS yesterday and he seems very happy with it but it bled again last night through all the dressings! Anyhow have the hospital on Wednesday again to dress it (not allowed do it myself) and then my PS next Friday again. Praying it all heals naturally now as its been nearly 7 weeks since surgery and its been constant trouble.

My tummy is fine - never gave me any trouble at all just tightness. I'm sure if yours is oozing its just some dead fat coming out and this will stop in time but make sure you don't get an infection. I'm still on antibiotics!!

I'm dying to drive again so think I might try next week (small drive). I hope it all heals well for you. Will you get nipple tattooing?

April 28, 2015 - 11:12

Hi spudburf, how are you doing now? Ive been back to clinic a few times since my last post, most recently yesterday. my tummy wound is still slightly open in two spots but the team think it will close in next couple of weeks. My new breast is doing great though thank goodness. I do think I will get the nipple done, as far as I know its not too big a procedure and I feel it will finish off the look of things for me. I am 7 weeks today since surgery.
I hope you are recovering well from your surgery last week.


April 28, 2015 - 15:53

Hi Iala, I'm delighted you're doing so well. How does your tummy feel?

I'm recovering ok - the breast bled a bit over the weekend but I'm back tomorrow to have it all checked out so fingers crossed its healing ok. My tummy keeps filling up with fluid so I'll have to have that drained as well. I'm just hoping after I meet my PS on Friday I'll be able to drive again.

I'll be very interested in hearing about the nipple tattoing - I don't think I'll do anymore to be honest. I've have not had an easy time so I think once I'm healed that will be it for me!! 2 years of constant treatments, operations, reactions, etc are enough...I want to get back to being healthy and enjoying my life again

Please keep me posted on your progress though as you're the only person I know who has had this procedure and it's good to hear about the different things. How is your scar on your tummy? Mine is healing very well but I didn't expect it to be so large!!!

April 28, 2015 - 23:18

Ladies with wound healing issues...try a portion of freshly juiced wheat grass for a week. It's not that easy to find but certain health food shops carry it (google it). It is GROSS but has amazing healing properties. I had horrid wound healing problems post mastectomy (having had a lumpectomy 4 weeks before hand). I am Dublin based but was travelling to the west for Easter and needed wound dressings changed. My fab PHN organised for me to get dressing changed by a Ballina based PHN who told me about wheat grass. Within a week my wound that was nearly 5cm long was virtually closed.

Oh and I had nipple recon done in Dec. still need to get the tattoo done but getting there! Have no feeling but at least I have a matching 'headlight'

April 30, 2015 - 09:05

Hi spudburf, how did you get on yesterday? My tummy is improving, but slowly and I am changing the dressings less often as per instructions. My tummy is still very tight but I think that will just take time... I cant wait to sleep on my side with just one pillow again!!

Hi Lindylu, thanks so much for the wheatgrass tip, Im gonna check that out today if I can. And thanks for sharing about the nipple, its great to get as much information as possible, especially from others who have already had experience!