1 week post Diep Op - some queries

Hi ladies

I had a diep flap recon a week ago, got out of hospital at weekend and am over the moon so far, having a cleavage again, no more prothestic (yipee)

Just a couple of queries to those of you who have already been here:-

* How long does it take before the tummy swelling goes down?
* They said the new breast would drop and then we can look at any further procedures to match up - what timescales have you ladies had before you started considering the next stages
* Any tips for bras, whilst still a little uneven (the new breast is a bit smaller and is very high as yet), did you find padding or chicken fillets the best option

Sure I’ll come up with more as the weeks go on but any thoughts would be helpful



Hi alex i had my diep in november and it did take around 6 weeks for my swelling to go down on my tummy - in respect of my new breast in is a bit higher than the other one and slightly rounded when i wear a bra I adjust the straps which make more or less even, there is a slight difference still but you can only tell if you really really look (if you know what I mean). Mine has definately dropped and shaped since surgery so what it looks like now will be different in about 6/8weeks time. I havent had to wear any filling at all as both breasts are d cup.

I am now on a waiting list to get my other breast uplifted, some lipo on the side of my breasts and a new nipple - i will then be ‘perfect’. My new flat tummy is a real bonus to all this. I agree its so liberating having a clevage and no prothesis to worry about - I sometimes have to pinch myself to believe what I have now got xx

Thanks Saffronseed

When you say youll need lipo is this to fill out creases and where are they taking that from?, must admit would probably be happy with a bit of that myself.

At the moment the neew breast does seem a little smaller but may be with it being so high and round at the moment so may be ok once dropped.

Know just what you mean about pinching yourself, good job am at home mainly at moment as keep find myself taking peeps at the cleavage in case I had dreamt it

Alex xx

lol yep I keep looking at myself and have to stop myself showing it to everyone I see… I go to get it out and then remember that nice ladies don’t flash their boobies!
I think my PS is going to take it from the sides- when I have my arms down there is excess ‘fat’ on both sides and he said he will lipt that to make them even (sounds horrid but I think will make my shape even better. I thought mine was smaller at first, but to be honest it is the same size its just that the good breast is droopy it looks bigger, when my PS pushed my good breast upwards I could see they were the same size and shape so I think when I get the uplift they will look very even. As I said mine did ‘shape up’ after about 6 weeks. xx

very interesting. Mine is probably about two cup sizes bigger on the left but I had both done, i was hoping would be more similar but will wait and see when swelling goes down. looking forward to shopping in the future just got to be patient!!!

Hi girls

I went for my dressing check and they removed all the tape today and went through physio exercises telling me everything was healing up well after a blip at the weekend. Wound looked 'gunky under breast so got it checked and was kept in overnight on iv anti-biotics. As I needed a sick note I had also booked an appointment with doctors and saw one not seen before, so having told him what I’ve had done, am I being a bit over sensitive when I was dumbstruck when he said “so another week should do then will it?” I was a bit taken aback and so said well I’ve been told not to drive for at least four weeks, so he extended it to two weeks.

I want to get back in work as soon as able, in fact I worked through most of my chemo, and I’m not automatically expecting loads of time off. But I now feel as if what to me has been a big decision and a big op, as if its been dimissed by the GP as something and nothing.

Whats the general for most ladies recovery from a DIEP and how have your doctors viewed it?


i really dont think gp’s undersand anything about reconstruction at all - i think they think a reconstruction is just a minor ‘implant’ in the breast. I was advised by my consultant to get a note for 2 months which I need after speaking to my GP but he was a bit dismissive at first as he thought i had had an implant - when i explained to him that it was a TRAM/DIEP he said i don’t know anything about them at all but if your surgeon says 2 months then I agree. Like you I don’t want time off work for nothing to really two weeks after major surgery is not enough and you need to go back to him (perhaps take some info on what is involved) and in my view you need at least 2 months before you can even consider returning to work xx


I was just so wound up and flabbergasted after I left the GP that I needed to rant a bit, as you say he probably thinks its a boob job, am going to book appointment for just before next note runs out with one of the other gps. And see how I feel at that point and see what he say, if I have any issues this time am going to flash the tummy scar at him and ask whether they know what a diep is


Hiyz Alex, glad you’re on the mend. Saffronseed and I had ops at the same time and we’ve also been able to compare results as we are both near Birmingham. Where are you?

I had my left side mx and recon. Mines also a bit bigger at the side, which I don’t like, as it bulges a bit at the side of my bra. They put in more fat than needed expecting some to die off, but if it takes well, it leaves the new boob a bit big. otherwise, mine is a pretty good match. It did settle down more as time went on and it’s the same shape as the good one. A BCN told me to gently massage my boob as well as my tum to help the swelling settle down.

My PS said it usually takes about four months to really settle down and I’m due to see her in two weeks to look at finishing touches. I want a nipple, also thinking about having my dog ears reduced but not sure yet, and might go for a lipo reduction from my boob.

In terms oif recovery, I’d read to allow 3-4months before going back towork full time, the BCN and other profs agreed with this, though it depends on the job and also the emotional impact the treatment has had. I just rang my surgery every month and asked for a sick note in view of recovery from BC and major surgery. They always gave me one month at a time. More recently I went to see a GP to discuss return to work and he suggested a one month initial phasing, to be reviewed before my note expires. I have had to explain to several GPs and nurses about the DIEP and how it’s done…they don’t have any involvement normally so at least in seeing me they got some further education, like it or not!! The physio i saw said it’s important to build core strength properly and you can’t move onto the main exercises until 8weeks post op, so allowing four weeks after this seems reasonable.

Hi ladies, I had a mx and immediate DIEP recontruction in November. I had 6 weeks off work. My job is an office job so sitting down all day and no physical activity. Ability to return to work depends on your general level of fitness and recovery from the op as well as the type of work that you do. It is a big operation and it is important not to overdo things in the early weeks. I was told not to drive for 6 weeks and as I needed the car to get to the station for work I took this as being the minimum time I needed.
Clare x

hi had my diep jan 3rd 2012-great start to the year !
told that I need to be off 3-4 months and thats non negotiable.Informed my Gp who gave me a fit note for that amount of time with the advice to come back if required . I think you need to advise the Gp what your consultant has advised you.
My stomach is still rigid but been checked out and all is fine . Physio said I could swim from next week and should think about pilates.
recon breast has a large fat necrosis but other wise starting to settle down .Removal of lump,nipple formation and lipo suction will only be performed after 6 months as this allows everything to settle.However most hospitals will put you on a"ongoing waiting list" which may mean you have to wait longer. This is a much more minor proceedure and day or overnight stay.
hope this helps xxxx

Just a further thing linked to recovery time…last time I saw a speciality cancer counsellor we had a discussion about returning to work.

she made the point I’d not thought about that our adrenaline production goes into overdrive at times like BC diagnosis and surgery and that this has an impact on our wellbeing for sometime afterwards. I can identify with this as I just couldn’t sleep or relax for months.

She went on to say that returning to work too early can result in unexpected stress and more time off work because of that adrenaline overload, so it’s better to take enough time to recuperate and rehabilitate beforehand. in fact my GP also mentioned taking into account the psychological impact of BC…but without the rationale!!

Lots of ammunition between us!!

Nonsuch xxx

Thanks so much ladies

Am going to go in with all the details next time I see GP and make sure that he is aware of exactly what the op has involved and take it from there. I can never understand why the consultants don’t give out the fit for work notes for the minimum period they recommend and then let the GPs deal with any problems when thats coming to an end.

Non-such, I’m based in the North West Fylde coast so quite a bit away from your area