DIEP - back home from surgery and the yellow bucket!

Hello all,

Had the surgery last Friday - Halloween - very apt. 12 hours in theatre - I walked in myself without any sedative!. Some of my silly questions now answered - I had been told 7 to 10 hours for surgery and on arrival I asked the anaesthetist how they all managed for so long - surely they took a break etc? He said that they have a yellow bucket in the corner and all use that when they need to go - LoL - he showed me his M&S bag containing his lunch and tea so he was well prepared. The next thing I remember is waking up and it was all done - so, literally, you go to sleep and then next minute it is 12 hours later!! However my body was well battered, lines in my hand, neck, my ankles were sore and my bum hot and itchy! However I felt great to be alive and ALL DONE.

One day of lying a bit like an upturned turtle and then onto my feet Sunday. I was home by Tuesday teatime.

I won’t say its a breeze - it isn’t - it’s huge surgery. Strangely the drains from my tummy emerged from my pubic area and their removal was a bit eye watering. They then stuck dressings onto my pubic area and this morning I had to pull them off - giving myself a Brazilian in the process!

My problem now is getting on and off chairs and in and out of bed. Am terrified of upsetting anything but have already been concerned about a burning feeling when I get up off a chair in my tummy so I hope that’s OK.

Mr Graham and his team were fantastic and I am indebted to them.

By the way the boob is fantastic - can’t believe I’ve got such a natural cleavage!

Anyone with concerns about the Tram -v- DIEP debate and is worried about the length of surgery - well my experience of it was that you are so unaware of the timing what does that matter as opposed to having a new boob without losing any muscle. Whilst saying that - I’ve still a long way to go in my recovery.

Best wishes to all


hi winnie
well done to you i am going in on monday for my surgery on tuesday pedical tram recon im now getting the butterflies thinkin about this but you have just made me feel alot better which hospital were you at ?

keep us posted on ur recovery
take care
joan x

Well done Winnie - I will be 6 weeks post op tomorrow and still glad I had it done. Feeling lots better though still quite stiff and sore in the mornings though this does wear off quite quickly. All the best
TM xx

I totally agree Winnie and well done to you. I am just over 7 weeks post op and have been back at work for past two weeks. I would do it again if I had to and have no regrets.

Maggie x

Congrats Winne,Im 6 weeks post op and glad to have a cleavage though my new boob is massive ought nickname it jorden lol.Nice that weve all got each other for support & that we are all in the same boat.You take your time with everything,hope youve got help around the house.
Debs x

Hi Winnie

Pleased to hear your DIEP has gone well. I am due to go in 2 weeks today, with the op on 22nd nov. I am so very nervous, but know that the result will be worth it.
Hope you feel stronger every day! Oh - and straighter!
For me, there was no question - I am travelling 250 miles to norwich for a DIEP, to avoid a TRAM!



Its good to hear positive stories, well done to you. I am having a diep sometime next year and am already aprehensive.

Lisa - why are you travelling so far to Norwich, I am asking as I am also traveliing a long way to Norwich (well about 80 miles) to see Elaine Sassoon, is it to see the same surgeon.


Hi all,

My op was at Whiston with Ken Graham’s ‘team’ as he insists it is a team effort. It seems that he is the only surgeon in the North West to perform this surgery. I know of one or two locals who have gone to Elaine and she advised Mr Graham to avoid the travelling. It seems there is a postcode lottery to get the op unless you are prepared to travel. I am very happy so far with the surgery and follow up although am welll aware that this is very early days. I know that Mr Graham feels that the nhs does not give the DIEP the suport it could and there is therefore little incentive for surgeons to train.

Day 7 and am tired with a minor water infection which is a nuisance getting (rolling) out of bed in the night.


Hi Deb
Absolutely - I am going with Elaine Sassoon. When I was told I needed a mastectomy, I was refused point-blank an immediate recon. Even then the plastic surgeon didnt fill me with any confidence. It was this early on in my treatment that I came across Elaine Sassoon. I visited the local PS again after my mastectomy just to make sure - he told me he refers back to a tram flap in a lot of cases (more than 50%). He also told me he had 3 failed trams in 6 months! MMMmmmmmm not good enough odds for me! As soon as I met her, I knew I wanted her to perform my diep. I also met Gill, who has a fantastic pair now, and lovely flat tummy!!!

So, yes, I have done the 450 mile round journey 3 times now - 2 private consultations, 1 pre-op visit. Each time, I know I am doing the right thing and I have not faultered in my decision. We have found a house in Norwich to rent for the week I leave hospital to stay close in case I need to go back to the hospital and until I have had a checkup with Elaine Sassoon.

I am nervous, but I wouldnt go with anyone else.

Isnt she simply marvellous?

I have to say I’m rather envious of the flat tummy brigade out there!! I wasn’t offered this option, and don’t know why…would my surgeon be miffed if i ask why not, at this late stage (surgery due on 28th Nov)? Might phone my bcn and ask her what she thinks, though it seems ungrateful to be asking when he says he is going to do his best for me anyway!

Hi Narnia

If you are not happy, or unsure, then stop, rethink, and go ahead when you are happy. You didnt say what type of recon that you are having?
This is the one part of this horrible dicease that you have control over. Be happy with your decision. The DIEP is supposed to be the gold standard in breast reconstruction, and me being me, wanted ‘that one’!

It is a very specialised surgery, but there are surgeons out there who do it.

2 weeks today… and counting…

i’m having a big wle, and reduction of other side,i’ll lose nipple/areola on the bad side, as the tumour is attached to the nipple and he will move the nipple on good side, so i have a ‘pert’ finish.But, i’m really worried that by reducing my breasts, it will accentuate how flabby my tummy is (6 babies, all huge, have taken their toll on me!), and hubby makes horrid coments about my body as it is, so whats it going to be like afterwards?
I don’t know, today is a bad day, very tearful, really feeling like nobody gives a stuff about me…hubby and family just don’t talk, so i have to bottle this up and it’s just too hard today.silly thing has really set me off, i was going to buy a new bathroom suite and son was going to install it for us,but when we got to the shop to buy it, my daughter moaned that the bath was a lot shallower than our current one and she doesn’t like it…so i just quietly said lets forget it then and came home.I KNOW it doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things, but if i have the nurse coming round, i want the house tidy and at the moment it’s an absolute tip and everyone promised to pitch in and help get things sorted,and now that i have the money sorted out to do it, they are all backing off.I just don’t feel i can cope today and i apologise for this rant, but need to clear my head abit…

hi all im a bit worried now im having tram on tuesday with being a previous smoker been packed in now for8 weeks i was told tram would be better for me as the blood vessels are not good when you have been a smoker anyone else heard of this ?


thanks Louise, might give them a go…thanks x

I was a smoker and gave up for 4 weeks pre surgery… had a tram ( although initially went in for diep - but apparently once opened up I was a better candidate for a tram so they did that) and Im all fine - 7 weeks down the line . Great flat tum and good boob! ) good luck xx

hi jennyg

thats good news im feeling better about this now i just want to get in and get out i will keep you posted, ive got up today and i feel like ive got a cold ive coughed all nite long im on the honey and lemon now paracetamol i just hope they dont turn me away tomorrow
take care jennyg
love joanie xx

Hi Ruby

I haven’t got a date, had one consultation with Elaine, next one on the 20th. I presume then I will get a date. I know what you mean, when you meet her, you get a feeling of knowing this is the right decision, she inspired me with confidence.

I wish you all the luck, (and of course everyone else).

Please let us know how you get on


Hi Deb

I will certainly let everyone know how I get on. I am excited by scared - all at the same time. 12 days to go… I will be shouting from the rooftops !

She certainly is an inspiration. My local PS made me feel like he was going me a favour… Elaine Sassoon was full of passion and excitment. She clearly loves her work.


still niggling away at me,and i’m wondering if it’s because my tummy is covered in stretch marks (war wounds from those 6 babies!), but have decided to call my bcn today and ask her advice.The other thing that is really bugging me, is if i have reduced breasts, will they look tiny if i still have a saggy baggy belly???and i know that sounds really vain, but it’s a real worry!

well, i phoned and was told simply that i am having the op which is right for me, and there is no chnace that i would be offered any kind of tummy tuck…i guess i should just be happy that this will make me well again