DIEP flap failed - what next?

Very sadly my DIEP reconstruction op was unsuccessful. The flap failed on day 5, which is apparently very unusual. My consultant doesn’t know why this happened as everything seemed to be going well.

One thing that may have been an issue was that the wound around my temporary expander didn’t heal well and completely failed at one point. This meant that the expander was removed, deflated and reinserted. It still didn’t heal way so I was on antibiotics for weeks to prevent an infection.

I’m devastated and exhausted. I’ve had 5 general anaesthetics in 2 months. My consultant has suggested I try the lat dorsi next.

Has anybody else had the DIEP fail and gone onto another reconstruction?


Hi Deborah,
I am really sorry to hear that your DIEP reconstruction was unsuccessful. I have not had the same experience as you but I am someone who had 2 attempts at recon so that’s where I’m coming from in replying to you… My previous recon involved an implant and from day one, it didn’t feel right and to cut a long story short, I ended up having it removed under emergency surgery and wore a prosthesis for 16 months.
What I wondered was if it was possible for you to check with your surgeon if you can have another attempt at recon but without needing an expander again as it might be that your body wasn’t happy with it? I had chemo before and after the first attempt at recon so was pretty run-down and I sometimes wonder if that contributed to things.
I hope that the surgical team can help you move forward with this and if you’ve had 5 anaesthetics in the space of 8 weeks, I know it’s easy to say but let the team guide you and get your body back to full strength before having another op.
I wish you the very best of luck and would like to say that although I had to wait over a year to get the recon done, I feel it gave me a chance to decide what I really wanted and also to feel 100% before trying again…
All the very best,