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DIEP method of reconstruction

DogmaWI's picture
Posts: 10
Joined: Jan 2013

I am considering reconstruction using the DIEP method, whereby the radiated skin is removed and replaced with skin, fat, and blood vessels from my  belly.  I need to wait ten months and lose twenty pounds, but I am looking forward to the procedure.  Has anyone else had this procedure?  What was your experience?  

Posts: 432
Joined: Dec 2009

I just had the Latissmus Dorsi flap done which takes that muscle and they use it to form the breast. Then I have saline fills until my skin is stretched enough and then an implant is put in.


I wish you well with your surgery! I don't know what the recovery time of your surgery, but I have to say that my surgery was way more intense than I thought it would be! BUT, I'm very happy with the process so far!


McMarty's picture
Posts: 212
Joined: Nov 2012

I had a DIEP flap in 2004!  They did mine in the same surgery with the mastectomy.  My surgeon did a great job and the good news is your abdominal muscles are not compromised so the lifetime risk of heria is all but elimenated.  No restrictions on lifting which was important to me because I had small kids and the smallest has down syndrome so not lifting more than 15 pounds for the rest of my life was out ouf the question :)

You can message me any questions you have.  I'd be happy to tell you all I know.

Personally, I would make that decision over and over agian.  I am happy with the results!

lintx's picture
Posts: 568
Joined: Sep 2012

Mine was also done in the initial surgery.  It was just last May.  I was able to have the revision surgery in Aug, where nipples were added and breasts lifted.  Next was the nipple tattooing in Dec.  Everything went smoothly.  Linda

CypressCynthia's picture
Posts: 4017
Joined: Oct 2009

I had a pedicled TRAM flap (from abdomen) in 1988 and then an SGAP free flap in about 1995.  The free flap was much easier on me.  The DIEP is similar to the SGAP except the SGAP uses part of your butt.  Plastic surgeon couldn't use my abdomen again for second breast (too much scarring after TRAM and previous C section), so we did SGAP.

I have never regretted either surgery.  It was the right decision for me.  I was 33 at the time of the first surgery and I love the outdoors and swimming.  I was self conscious before I had the surgery. 

With the SGAP, I was home in 3 days and back to normal slowly (complete recovery and back to work in 1-2 months).  I was able to walk some the next day and each day got stronger. 

If you have never had surgery, here are some basic nursing 101 tips:

1) Pain meds are prescribed primarily because they are associated with faster healing.  Why?  Because if you are not in pain, you will move more.  Bedrest is associated with many, many complications, so take your meds, wait about 20 minutes and get up and moving as soon as you can.

2) Pain meds have side effects such as nausea, fatigue and constipation.  Some of this is dose related, so if you are having a lot of problems, try taking a lower dose (you can split a tablet) or try a different type.  For example, for some reason, I can't take percocet without throwing up, but I do very well with the lowest dose of hydrocodone/acetamenophen (5/300).  I have even taken a half of that lowest dose and had it work just fine.  Everyone is different, so you will have to figure out what works for you.  Orally dissolving Zofran can be given for nausea--ask and ye shall receive!  Also, ask you doc about how to manage constipation.

3) Pain meds work best on mild to moderate pain.  Do not wait until you are in severe pain to take your meds because you will then have to take more meds with a less effective result.  Pain also tends to be worse in late afternoon and eveing, anticipate this.  Switch to milder pain meds such as aleve or tylenol when you can.

4) Walk a little as many times a day as you can tolerate.  This will help with so many potential problems such as pneumonia, blood clots, urinary tract infections, muscle wasting, etc.

5) Ask your physician about special exercises and if he/she recommends any.

Hope this helps!

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