DIEP flap surgery...anybody else having problems?

Mstuk7 Member Posts: 2 Member
edited May 30 in Breast Cancer #1

I've been waiting for over 6 months to get breast reconstruction. My insurance won't cover the doctor cause he's out of network; but he's the ONLY doctor in my area that performs the DIEP flap surgery. I am in no way interested in implants cause I don't want to have to get any other surgeries when it comes to removal or changing them out.

I don't have the financial means to go to another doctor that may be in network (out of town or state) and I feel that my only other option is going flat. I don't consider going flat an issue at all; but after all the appointments, tests, losing both of my breast along with every other bump in the road of this journey; I just want some sort of resemblance of my former self.

Has anyone decided to go flat if they weren't able to get the DIEP flap?

Anybody get implants because of issues with DIEP flap?

Any tips to help the process?

Any words of encouragement?



  • LovesPrimes
    LovesPrimes Member Posts: 9 Member

    Mstuk7, I can't really offer any help since you are much further along in the process. (I just had my bilateral mastectomy May 11th.) My plan is also to do DIEP surgery for reconstruction, pretty much for the same reasons you stated - I want to have some semblance of my former self without having to have further surgeries. I have also been told that with DIEP, not right away, but down the road, I might regain some feeling in my breasts. I am not willing to go flat.

    I don't mean to add fuel to the fire but it is completely idiotic that your insurance is putting up barriers. Please read all the fine print and keep calling and calling and asking for escalation. My understanding is they have to cover reconstruction if a woman chooses it and if your local doctor is not covered they should make an exception. You've gone through enough; you should NOT have to travel a long distance to get the care you have a right to.

    Please keep us updated and best wishes!!

  • mapilar
    mapilar Member Posts: 4 Member

    Hello, I am sorry you are waiting for reconstruction. I went thru the DIEP and double mastectomy last year, I also had the issue of the plastic surgeon being out of network, however my breast surgeon suggested working with the insurance to perform both surgeries at once (saved money long run to them, so they approved the out-of-network plastic surgeon (it was Aetna), the DIEP and mastectomy surgeries are complex, so you need to have certain good health conditions to go thru the procedures in one surgery (I had a 6 hours procedure with 3 surgeons). Seems you did not have the option unfortunately to do it at one, but for those considering I suggest working with insurance and breast surgeon. The DIEP also have risks, I got an infection 3 weeks after and had to open and wash one breast again. However, one year after I feel ABSOLUTELY great, I am a new women, not only my own tissue healed well, but also all depended on my post surgery care. It is painful yes, you are physically restricted and tired and all hurts, but if you have a good attitude that all is temporary and determination to work on your recovery you will be all right, just let your self time to heal, work on the physical therapy post-surgery and also take good care of the scars, they slowly will fade away. I would say it takes a year to feel better and strong. My suggestion is to keep looking for plastic surgeons that even out of network may cost around the same as the in-network so it may give you opportunity to 'negotiate" with the insurance, what I learned in the process is that you need to be your own advocate and work all details with the doctors. Bottom line, I have had no issues with the DIEP. If you want to talk to my plastic surgeon office to assess your case, you may get a comparable quote. It is in Washington DC thou so not sure how feasible it would be.