anybody had a diep without angiogram scan first?

Hi all
I am due to have diep 2 weeks today. You might think I would be worried about the op itself but I am more worried it will be cancelled as the surgeon said I needed a MRA scan, which is a type of angiogram to look at the blood vessels. I have tried and tried to get this arranged but nobody from the hospital returns my calls and the consultant’s secretary is not at all helpful.
Is the scan necessary? I assumed it would be since the op involves joining blood vessels.
Could really do without all this stress as I’m trying my best to get my work up-to-date before the op.

Hi Nottsgal,
I’m not too sure if I can be of any help but just to tell you what happened with me. I definatly did not have one of those scans pre the operation. From what I can tell some form of scan was done to locate the vessels whilst I was under anaesthetic. Anyway all went well and I have acheived a fabulous result. Just to wish you all the best and hope you can get it sorted. I would give his secretary another call as I’m sure she would have some information or could point you in the right direction.

Hi Nottsgal
I had a DIEP recon a year ago. I did have a scan before the op, sorry I can’t remember the name of it, but it was to locate and assess the suitability of the blood vessels.
Good luck
Clare x

Thank you both. It sounds as though the scan is necessary. I am supposed to have the scan at a different hospital from where I’m having the surgery, which suggests the surgery hospital doesn’t have the right scanner - so I wouldn’t be able to get it done whilst under the anaesthetic. Have just e-mailed the secretary again.
Glad to hear you were pleased with your result Beanie Baby. I hope yours is really good too Clare.
I have a pre-op appointment on Monday and will hopefully find out more about the op then.
thank you for replying, you’ve helped one stressed person feel less alone x

I had a diep and yes I did have to have the scan so they could find out how big my blood vessels were for the Op. I do think it is important although my surgeon did say that whilst it looked as if I had one or two likely blood vessels they wouldn’t know for sure until they opened me up - yUK. But I was lucky and he found a good one and it worked great x

Thanks Saffronseed. Still chasing. Glad your op worked well.

Hi Nottsgal
Yes, I delighted with my new boob. Just waiting now for an appointment for a new nipple. It is a big op but I am so pleased with the result ( and my flat tummy!)
Clare x

I had a DIEP two weeks ago and didn’t have a scan beforehand. The night before surgery a registrar used a Doppler to listen to the blood vessels in my tummy, which she marked with a black dot…and that was it.
I too am delighted with my new boob. I won’t lie, the first few days post-op are HELL but it passes. Two weeks later I still can’t stand totally straight or lie flat but I am walking more and can do more each day.
Any other Qs, just ask.

Thanks Kerry. Glad to hear you are happy with the result. I expect it to be very painful just after the op but I have to have the operation as I cannot stand the thought of using a stupid prothesis forever. One silly thing that bothers me is that I can never get to sleep lying on my back. Have you managed OK? I assume I won’t be able to lie on my side to sleep.
Still waiting to hear about scan…

I had my Diep last november (nearly a year to the date) As Kerry said the first few days are uncomfortable in that its difficult to get up and about but they are soon over. I normally sleep on my side too but to be honest its impossible to sleep like that with drains etc so you will need to sleep on your back although Ineeded to have my head rasied up quiet hight and had 3 pillows under my knees as I couldn’t lie flat due to my tummy wound. To be honest whilst its not a good nights sleep you do tend to doze on and off. When I got home I still slept on my back for about 2 months and used to sleep during the day too as the anasthetic does take it out of you - its a long op. Its so worth it though and I would go through it all again if I needed to - I have a lovely lovely new breast and so pleased with it. On holiday this year I wore normal swimwear and felt comfortable in the pool and wandering around with my cossie on. Its fantastic what they can do and the results are so good - its well worth being a bit uncomfortable for a few days - I had no pain whatsover its just the tightness in your tummy which takes getting used to - you soon do and have a super flat tummy too

Hi Nottsgal, I just wanted to reassure you about the pain - I can honestly say I had no pain, I took the painkillers as presrcibed and it was fine. Yes it’s uncomfortable to move around at first and you do have to sleep on your back. I bought a leg pillow to prop my knees up in bed. Not being able to do things at your normal pace is frustrating but it’s soon over. You will be tired - even having a shower is tiring and I needed a rest afterwards but you will surprised how quickly you are up and about again. You will be given exercises to do and I did these religiously.
Clare x

I had my diep over a year ago now. I had an ultrasound scan to find the blood vessels the day before my op which were marked up with coloured pen.

I too can honestly say I wasn’t in pain after my op. You are uncomfortably and very wary of moving at first but I hardly used my morphine pump only doing so when the nurses suggested it before getting me out of bed etc.

I hate sleeping on my back but there is no option after this op. You are well propped up with pillows though and as Saffronseed says also have pillows under your knees. I went back to sleeping on my side after three weeks.

Yes it is a big op but I would have no hesitation in going through it all again. As someone who hated being lopsided and wearing a prosthesis I now feel back to how I was and can wear all my pre bc tops. I have since had an op to lift and slightly reduce the other side and make a new nipple on the recon. Just two weeks ago I had my first areola tattooing and I am amazed at how good the recon looks. These plastic surgeons are brilliant.

Good luck with your op.


I had a scan at a hospital about a hour and half drive away because my PS trusted the way the scan was read at this particular NHS hospital. The scarn was done a week before my DIEP surgery (13/06/12). I found out it is a larger - more involved op than I had understood. I had quite a bit of pain and on the pump in hospital more than those posting here. I walked hunched over for nearly three weeks due to heavy tightness and that is something that is not discussed much. It was only at week four that life started to get slightly back to before. My husband wanted to take a business trip during the thrid week afterwards and it was my calling breast cancer care help line and him talking to them, that he realized he could not go. Each week after the op builds and the first four weeks are the most crucial.
I wore seam-free high waisted control briefs for 6 weeks afterwards and no one told me about those and I bought them online at Matalan, while in hospital, in two sizes up from my actual size at first (because of swelling), as it was too painful to squeeze into my normal size - that was trial and error - no one explained that either. I thought I had it all figured out, read all I could online, etc… asked tons of questions and I was not prepared for what I actually needed to have or has true understanding the extent of it all. Looked agast afterwards at my over-sized, bulky, cobbled left breast and 20 inch - senstive flap hip-to-hip incision. I would not have opted for anything else and I never had any infection, drains out in three days and no necrosis. Phase II in mid-January (there is a smaller, out patient surgery six months down the line for tweak and tune) and then I’ll finally have or at least closer, to what I want as a good result. I trust my PS.
One more thing, I bought soft pull-on jersey trousers on sale at Lands End UK (and front buttoning shirts) and wore those for almost three months afterwards because of the pain from fabric pressure across my incision area and wearning jeans were the worst. I had to work up over time, to wearing my jeans again.
You can do this and you will see how your experience differs and at times, the same. It’s ok either way. I’ve learned there is no one set way of recovering from DIEP. I did go back to the gym when I was told I could and pilates and body balance has really made a difference in softening my scar tissue (as does my massaging it with Bio Oil) and helping me to get flexibility and mobility of my left arm back on par.
All the best to you Nottsgal!
LB, x

Thank you all. I hope I’m as lucky with the results as you all. The new boob doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be part of me. I had my mx in October 2010 & have had to wait for recon until after chemo, rads, herceptin and losing 3 stone. Being tired is ok it’s too cold to want to go anywhere anyway.
Thanks for all the tips on pillows - I’ll make sure I find all our spares out before I go in.

Hi Nottsgal

Further to all the other comments you might want to read Search Results | Breast Cancer Now - particularly page 6 about the pillows!

I am glad you can finally get a boob :slight_smile:

Best wishes

Liz x

Hi Nottsgal,
I had a DIEP flap on 10/11/12 and got home 2 days ago. The day before the op I had to go in and the vascular peeps marked up where my Deep Inferior Epigastric arteries were using just a doppler probe, like an ultrasound scan. I had no MRI as some do. The surgeon then marked out where all the cuts and flaps etc would be.
The op took 9 hours to do, I have a 50cm tummy scar, but the new boob is amazing.
I am taking pillows with me everywhere too, behind my back and 2 under my legs. I was only a size 10-12 before and my tummy is very tight, I cannot stand up straight for 2 weeks.
However all this is so worth it, I feel “me” again, I feel whole, and feel it will be easier to move on now.
Good luck - I hope yours goes as well.

Thank you all so much.
Lilac, I didn’t have any advice offered either so I asked the consultant’s secretary - she said about the control pants but did not say anything about getting a bigger size. Might need another trip to Matalan.
GOOD NEWS though! I have an appointment for my scan -next Tuesday. Must have run up an enormous phone bill trying to get through to these people but finally got it. I discovered on Thursday afternoon that they had me marked in for a scan on Friday morning - great, except they didn’t bother to communicate that to me so I would have had to be psychic and anyway I was away overnight on a business trip so I couldn’t go anyway.
Really want to be able to ditch the pocketed bras

Agree with Lilac,
I’m actually walking with a zimmer frame as so bent over, surgeon got the hospital to get me one.
I got the medium resistance pants from M&S, same size is Ok for me and I have a large piece of tubigrip underneath too.
I’m also wearing leggings, from sainsburys!
I bought firm support, seam free bras one size larger but same cup size, as advised but they swamped me post op. So I’m back in my seam free Nicola Jane prosthesis bras as they are so comfy. You have to wear a bra and support knickers for 6 weeks.
Day 7 for me now, I had no pain buster post op, but did have a local anaesthetic pain bomb dripping local ansesthetic into area around my tummy wound for 3 days. Drains out day 3,4 and 5. home day 5, no problems so far, but plan on doing nothing for the first 2 weeks at least.