any sensation on your reconstructed DIEP breast and tummy?

It is over three months now since my successful DIEP op, however there is no sensation on the newly reconstructed breast and above the abdominal scar. It feels odd when I touch them, as though they are not mine. Can any fellow DIEP let me know whether you regain your sensation back and how much sensation can you feel? I believe that the surgeon severed the nerves during the operation and obviously not reattaching the flap nerve to the local nerve, hence the numb feeling. The consultant told me before the surgery that I wont be able to feel anything, ever, because there is no nerve attached. I am not complaining - and very grateful that I have been given a newly reconstructed breast. But I feel weird touching my breast or stomach. Recently I have some sort of itchy feeling deep down my new breast.

My tummy also feel numbed and not mine. But one good thing is I cannot feel pain after the op, because there is no sensation on the breast or stomach.

Does it bother you about the numbness? I read somewhere that there are succesful nerve repair or DIEP done with reattaching the nerves.

Hi Miss Piggy,

I had my DIEP done April 07 and I still have numbness in both areas - also the deep itchy feeling (which is a perfect description) - frustrating because you can’t scratch it! I have to say the lack of sensation doesn’t really bother me though and certainly not enough to have surgery done to reattach the nerves.

I have got used to the numbness and it seems normal to me now. However, in a couple of weeks I’m going to have my other breast removed and a recon done using the IGAP method, so will have to get used to both boobs and tummy being numb plus a numb bum on one side - weird!!!

Sally x

Hi Miss Piggy

I am only 7-8 weeks post op, and numb of course. My numbness in the tummy area is less than it was, but my breast is totally numb. I get the deep itches too, and it is very strange.
I love my new look, and now and again, my mind wanders, and I tell everyone who is around me to admire my new flat tummy!!! I have bought lovely clothes over the Christmas hols that flatter the flat tummy as well, dresses cut on the cross! My breast is like it was it had never been away… it is so natural. As I came around after the op, when I looked at it for the first time, I felt just peace. But lets face it, the flat tummy is something I hadnt had for a long time!

Hi SallyLou
How are you? Do you have a date for your IGAP yet? You’ll have a sexy bottom as well soon!

Lisa X

I agree the new flat stomach is a huge added bonus. I cant stop admiring myself in the mirror :slight_smile: he…he… The itchy boob is probably caused by the nerves ending which starts to regenerate. Although it could regenerate but we will never get the full sensation back. I read that the nerves regeneration causes kind of itchy feeling or hot feeling.

But I am just curious if anyone has improved sensation on their reconstructed breast as time goes by whether totally or partially.

Sally good luck with your IGAP recon.

Hi 1966ruby, where did you have your DIEP done? Which hospital?

I had mastectomy and ‘tummy tuck’ in September and no, I have no feeling in the new boob… its strange, isnt it. Also when I run my fingers over stomach scar, it tingles just belowm my belly button ( which is a few inches above scar line) its really odd!!
beware … I pigged out BIG time over christmas and tummy is not as flat as it was after surgery!!

Hi MissPiggy
I had my DIEP completed by Elaine Sassoon in Norwich (same as SallyLou). It really is fabulas.
My scaring is practially nothing already after only 8 weeks, and the shape of the breast is practially perfect.
And what can I say about the tummy - its just flat, flat, flat!!!
Sorry - I just keep wanting to tell everyone :wink:

I travelled 220 miles to Norwich from Middlesbrough. The DIEP was guaranteed locally, and I didnt want to compromise loosing tummy muscle.
The whole experience was surreal. I would do it all over again.

My breast is sort of numb right inside, but I feel like I do have some surface feeling - I cant really explain very well.
The odd numbness doesnt bother me at all. I am just glad that for now my cancer has gone, and I have 2 breasts (Oh and a flat tummy).

Lisa X

Wow, it sounds good, does havingthe diep method mean havin a cage in your tummy, just starting to research it but had one masectomy and no recon cos of rads but having other side off and hopefully recon at same time - is itreally painfull? Glad it looks good as seem some not very nice pics and was starting to wnder ifit was worth it

Hi Lisaf!

Having the DIEP means that you dont have to have a cage in your tummy! This is normally done if you have a TRAM or pediculed TRAM to reduce risk of muscle related problems like hernias. The DIEP is performed using only the skin and fat, and leaves the muscle intact.

I was surprised by the lack of pain. The tummy area is completely numb after the op, but tight (you walk bent over for a few weeks afterwards, but gradually it gets better).
You are given a morphine pump straight after the op, but I didnt really use it. You will also be given pain killers once the morphine taken from you - I accepted them just incase I had pain!!
You would expect it to be painful, but its not. The worst thing is having to sit in bed for 3 whole days and not being able to shower!

Call it vanity if you like, but I cant stop admiring my flat tummy every time I pass a mirror!
Oh - it definitely is worth it!

Good luck with whatever you choose!

Lisa X

Hi Lisa,

Have got my date for the IGAP - 24th January - eek!!! Will be on the Cringleford Ward so probably in your room - not sure if I’ll get moved upstairs like you later. Glad to see you still love your flat tummy - mine got a bit bigger over Christmas though!!

Will be having 2nd operation in about 3 months to take out the implant in the first recon and match up to the second - Elaine says I’ll be about a c cup - can’t wait, as I don’t like e cups - thin strap bras - yay!! Think I’ll only have half a sexy bum though!!!


Sally x

Hi Lisa,

I think we are very lucky with our reconstruction surgeries. I had a text-book like recovery with no complications and able to do most things on week 3 including driving after 3 1/2 weeks. My PS from Royal Marsden told me that he’s extremely pleased to see my recovery as he said that there are other DIEP patients who have complications. Mostly the problems with seroma, bulging, wounds not healing fast, etc. So each case is different. Not sure why some other people suffers from prolonged seroma. Someone told me it was because I am size 10. Not sure if body weight or size has got anything to do with fluid production or draining.I have no idea whether this is true, but I am very fortunate not to suffer from it.

I share your delight in having the flat tummy. I still have a small nice cleavage. Have bought a few figure hugging dresses and I am soooo pleased. I almost forget the cancer saga now. BTW I just wonder as time goes by, say after 3 - 4 years, whether the fat around the tummy would build up again ??? Yike.

I heard about good things about Miss Sassoon from other posting. I have the wonderful Mr Fallahdar who operated on me, he is my hero. I am not bothered about the numbness, however i notice that my new breast feels odd on the pectoral muscle side. It feels like a bit contracting occassionally, not sure if this is caused by the movement of the pectoral muscle. I know that the flap is internally sewn to the pec muscle.

Somehow I remember during the pre-op consultation, the PS warned that there is a small possibility that DIEP may fail due to poor veins during the surgery, in which case the surgeon needs to harvest the back muscle LD and install expander to finish the reconstruction work. I told him that if he fails with the DIEP, just stich me back, I dont want my back harvested too.

Good luck to Sally - hope all goes well with your op. Let us know.


hi, i have had reconstruction and ‘tummy tuck’. i would agree that TT is fantastic, not been so slim for years! i have been ‘bio oiling’ my scars and i think this has helped hugely, the scars are fading already and i had my surgery in october 08.

i did find it very painful after the op especially my tummy. my new breast felt more like i had an elephant sitting on my chest but gradually the elephant got smaller! doing the arm exercises definitely helped and i have full movement back. my stomach is not back to normal yet, i still find it uncomfortable bending down to pick things up and it is still painful turning over in bed. i have some ‘fat necrosis’ on the topside of my new breast and still have swelling under my arm but hopefully this will eventually disappear.

i also have the deep itching that you describe and it is very frustrating!! and a lot of stabby pains, i am still numb on my tummy and my new breast, this doesnt really bother me. my tummy is very sensitive and i cant bear anything touching it and i’m wearing my mate’s maternity skirt and trousers at the moment as i cant bear waistbands! shame as my tummy is much flatter than it was before!! overall tho’ i would make the same choices again as i am a 36c and would definitely miss having 2 breasts and having numb tummy and breast is small amount to pay to be cancer free.

having said all this, even tho’ i am very pleased with the results of the op and my flat tummy, if i was given the choice i would have my fat tummy back in an instant to have both my breasts back and to never had cancer in the first place.

good luck to you all.

Wow, thanks for the info - Lisa glad you had no pain - starting talks about it on friday however will need to travel 3 hours and get referred if want diep option so looking at all options!!!

Hi Lisa
For me, I needed to travel 5-6 hours to have the DIEP (each way) - down to Norwich. It was worth it to me.
I went down to Norwich on Friday (and John came with me). I had the op on Saturday, and John came back up to Middlesbrough on Sunday.
I stayed in hosp until the following Friday, when John came back down to Norwich.
We then stayed in a little house in Norwich for 5 days before we travelled back up.
I think I would have been ok to travel back up straight away, but before the op, we had already made the decision to stay down there just in case.

I went to have a checkup at the breast clinic last week, and the breast consultant was very impressed with it.

Good luck with whatever you decide. Each of us has had a lot of decisions to make - this one, is one allows you to make a decision at your leisure.
It’s true, I would rather have my old breast back, but I cant, and to be honest, I am at peace with it now. I feel on top of the world!

Good luck!

Hi Lisa,
Glad to hear you are doing well after your operation.
That numbness that’s mentioned well mine is like that after 21/2 years but like you say I don’t mind
as I’ve got two boobs and cleavage which is the main reason I had the recon done.

Sounds like a really good option, unfortunatley my surgeon said I couldnt really do it as Im having another masectomy and cant use the stomach for both sides so for a better match the LD method more appropriate - thanks for help though and keep admiring those flat tummys, im very jeleous xx


I had a dble mastectomy followed by diep reconstruction Nov 08 at Broomfields. I woke up from surgery, i had 6 drains inserted, plus a corsett to wear. Afta the initial 3 days in bed, I was up and about, afta the 5th day, I had all my breast drains taken out, which left me with the 2 abdo drains in. On 6th day I was drain free, 7th day I was home. Only discomfort I had was from the tummy tuck, having to wear the corsett 24/7 was a pain, because it restricts your movements. I was lucky enough that I didn’t have to have implants inserted, as they used my stomach to create both breasts.

I’ve had minor scar breakdown on both breasts, which with abit of follow-up surgery in 6mths time they should look great.

Yes I still have numbness on both breasts, numbness on stomach is gradually going. What I am having difficulties with and it does get me down sometimes is the numbness at the back of my arms near my armpit. I get stabbing pain in just one of the arms, and it does hurt sometimes. If any1 is about to go through this operation, all I can say is, I have no regrets and my boobs & stomach look fantastic.

Just one question, I’m not sure on what sort of exercises I am allowed to do, can any1 help me?

Hi Bubbabes,

I’m going into Broomfield for my recon on 17/09 - I’ve still got to decide whether to have a DIEP or LD flap.

Who did your surgery?, I’m having Peter Dwulski (probably spelt incorrectly)

Kind Regards,


Hi, I’m Rochelle - a 24 year old mother of 1 (Lyla - 13 months) from North London. I am booked to have a masectomy and diep reconstruction next tuesday (eek1) and i was reading your comments and i just wanted to ask a few questions, as i dont know anyone else who has had this procedure done and well, the more research i do on the net the more questions arise and i just keep going round and round in circles!
Firstly, let me explain that the reason for this procedure is not cancer related. I developed an infection while having a bilateral breast augmentation 3 years ago and it has never gone away… well, to cut a long story short, it is so bad that my plastic surgeon has decided that drastic action is needed and am booked in for the operation next week.

I hadn’t even considered the “tummy tuck” aspect of the procedure (didnt think it would be too dramatic) but some of your comments about lovely flat tummy intrigued me! how many dress sizes did it take you down? i really didnt think it would be very noticable but after reading this forum, it appears i was wrong! the numbness doesnt really bother me as i had a c-sec last year and it still feels really wierd!

Any comments would be really appreciated, and i wish everyone well on their continued road to recovery xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Dallas you poor love!! I’ve just come out of hospital a couple of days ago having had the DIEP (I’m 42). My results have been impressive and I’m only a week on. Tummy hurts more than the breast (reckon I could swing the lefy round and round and use it as a bat) but the tum is tender. Not painful, just tender. Need someone at home to help you up and down. When home - you must do nothing. Just sit on the sofa, surround yourself with the remotes, phone, tissues, water etc and take complete rest. Even if you’ve got a family, sorry - its cheese sarny’s or take aways for dinner cos you won’t be up to it. If you’ve got someone who can be with you most of the day that’s ideal. The other thing is, they do keep you very hot after the op for the first 24 hours. Take a little fan and a face flanel in with you so you can at least cool your face. That might sound a bit OTT but trust me - you’ll be really grateful for it. I also tell everyone to take a neck pillow in as well. They are a must. Its all worth it. Hope it goes well. Will be thinking of you x