Breast cancer
posted by maybaby
15 April 2021

DIEP Reconstruction

Last reply: 17 days ago

Hi, I was diagnosed with Breast cancer in 2016 (aged 28) I had a mastectomy with auxiliary clearance with immediate reconstruction using an implant and the muscle from my back, (latissimus dorsi flap), followed by chemotherapy and radiotherapy and tamoxifen for 5 years. The implant became distorted and I had it replaced in 2018. The implant was placed very high and overtime a fold formed over the implant, so when I bend down there would be a deep crease, I believe this is called a capsular contracture. I mentioned it to my surgeon a few times but it was dismissed as just something that just happens. I waited until the time was right and I was finished having my family, so I bit the bullet as they say and plucked up the courage to go back and see another surgeon in 2019. I was rushed into making a quick decision and ended up having another implant late 2019, the job looked good at first but over the next 6 months I needed some fat harvested from my tummy to fill in the fold again. This was delayed until October 2020 because of covid. The capsular contraction appeared again 6 weeks later and another fat transfer was suggested. I didn't opt for this as site of the harvest was quiet painful for a time afterwards and I wasn't guaranteed that it would fix the problem. I decided to go to another surgeon and see what my other options would be. This time the DIEP flap was suggested. I have done some research on this and I am not sure it is an option. I know the feel etc is supposed to be great. Can anyone advise me on this. Is the scar on the tummy really hip to hip. Is the recovery really 3 months, do you have to go back for various adjustments, if I needed another mastectomy down the line DIEP wont be an option. I would really appreciate any advice from someone with similar experience. I am conscious of the seriousness of the operation and the fact that I have a young family with little support.

3 comments

Comments

commented by Cancer Nurse
23 April 2021

24 days ago

Hi Maybaby,

Thank you for posting and I am very sorry to read all that you have been through at such a young age.  I wonder would you phone our support line on 1800 200 700?  We can have a chat about all that’s happened and talk through the DIEP procedure and how you are feeling about it.  We may also be able to put you in touch with a lady who has had the DIEP procedure as it can be helpful to speak with someone who has had a similar experience.  I hope we hear from you.

Kind regards,

Cancer nurse.

commented by ari2020
29 April 2021

18 days ago

Hi maybaby, you have been through the wars! If you haven't found someone to discuss with yet I can answer some of your queries.

DIEP is more like 6 weeks to mostly normal, but the scar is hip to hip and slightly higher than a c-section scar would be.

It is 7-10 days in hospital and there will be drains that 1 might have to come home with you for a week. Week 3-4 you start to get much more movement and energy back but you won't be driving, vacuuming, changing beds or carrying more than a couple of kilos for 6 weeks probably.

If you are on facebook, there is a group of lovely ladies which have shared lots of info on the procedure and how the found it on the following group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/698837293473187/?ref=share

I am currently recovering from an immediate DIEP and found great info there!

Ari

commented by Jane2021
01 May 2021

17 days ago

Hi, I am 8 days post diep so thought I would share. I've been lucky so far and have found the experience a little easier than was described. I was fairly slim and fit going into this so I think this may have helped. I got drains removed day 2 and got out of hospital day 3.i experienced very little pain, more discomfort through it all. Day 1 is by far the toughest both mentally and physically but after that each day gets a little better. My scar is hip to him and can be seen in underwear but other than that almost all clothes should cover it. My breast looks amazing so far, I cannot believe how little scarring is going to be left.
I too worry that if this happens again I won't be able to have the same procedure but I tend to look at the glass half full and just pray it won't be the case.
I can move about now although am trying to rest plenty. I would imagine by the 6 week mark I will be well on the way to being able to return to most things.
Hope this helps, if you have any questions please don't hesitate to ask.

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