Experience of Double -DIEP

I am now 6 weeks and 6 days post double DIEP. I found this website so useful in the run up to my op I thought I would write something as follow up and for those who might be approaching the same.
My BC experiences- Age 42, diagnosis Sept 06 - local excision and chemo then because of DCIS extension of the local excision but as even more DCIS finally a mastectomy May 07 and radiotherapy. Got over all that and life going well but decided I did want reconstruction plus having researched my paternal family history and seen geneticists I decided on prophylactic mastectomy and immediate reconstruction on R at same time. Op Oct 30th at St Andrews Unit. Chelmsford - who were brilliant I have to say.
What an op! 10 hours and by having both sides done rended totally helpless for the first few days. Compared to all my others this was MUCH bigger. Very restricted arm movement for 2 weeks to avoid pranging the graft and careful physio exercises to gradually build up genetle movement. Plus a very tight tummy tuck so wearing a corset for 6 weeks all the time. Having slightly different ops each side the delayed reconstruction was simplest - all settled v well and much less swelling. The prophylactic mastectomy side got very swollen and bruised - much of which is still settling even now. Worked my way through various sizes of bras - initially my old DD ones whilst still swollen and now down to C cup - will end up B I suspect (‘not enough abdomen’ to make bigger I was told but that’s fine by me - also told I could have implants later if I want…! - No thanks)
Went to get some nice new bras last week (at Nicola Jane in London - WHAT a nice shop) - some nice padded bras whilst I am still a bit asymmetrical as swelling settles and having got mastectomy bras it allows me to put in the tiny bit of padding I use on the L to even up the temporatry slight difference. Starting to leave the corst off though my abdo gets tired without. And started a gentle exercise routine plus this morning pottered to the shops on my bike for first time. Fantastic!
I was terrified before this op and it was really hard at times how much recovery there has been to go through (and still is). The breasts will take a while to settle still but I can them shaping up well day by day now.
So was it worth it - YES, YES, YES!! My figures looks FAB - even my 13 year old daughter is envious of my flat tummy, and I can wear fitted jumpers already and look great.

hiya, great info - I have been considering this but Im such a big baby and terrified of more surgergy. Diagnosed in Feb 08, mastecomy and aux clearance (wouldnt do recon due to rads). finished chemo, rads and ovaries removed and now on arimidex. However discovered faulty gene so looking at anothe rmasectomy, dont know if yours was the same but you sound very brave - after new year about to start discussion options - our area doesnt do any plastic surgety but one doc does the one involving the back which sounds like the easier option to me. mentioned skin sparing masectomy on good side thats currentlt there and recon on other side - I was huge breasted and have huge tummy to match but heard lots of horror stories about having the tummy bit done, cage in your tummy, walking with zimmr etc. really frightened me

Hello JackieBK (and lisaf),

As already said, great information, thank you.

I was diagnosed June 08 with lobular cancer and put straight onto chemo which I have just finished. My mastectomy will be in 2 weeks time, but immediate diep reconstruction is not an option as will have to have rads too. I’m quite large breasted, and like you don’t fancy the idea of implants, so the plan is to complete all the surgery and radiotherapy then allow a few months for everything to heal and settle and then go for a diep / muscle sparing tram in summer 09. I’m a perfect candidate apparently as not only do I have plenty of spare abdomen(!) but the skin is also nice and loose too, making it easier to join together!!

I’ll only be having the one side, so hopefully won’t be as completely incapacitated at the start, but I guess the timeframe you speak about for recovery will be similar for me too Jackie. Is the corset that you mentioned provided for you, or did you have to source your own? You sound very brave and together about it all, and I’m delighted that it has all gone so well.

I hope you had a great Christmas and are continuing to see and feel improvements. Must say after the last 6 months, I am quite looking forward to a flatter tum as some sort of compensation!

Best wishes,


Thanks for posting the above. Really encouraging. Im having the same procedure (proph mast and bilat DIEP) in 4 weeks. Looking forward to flat tummy and much smaller breasts. No more heavy prosthesis and bra sized swimming costumes! I have read your experience of recovery carefully and its good advice to help me prepare. We are flying Mun over from Australia to chase around after the kids while I rest.

All the best

Good luck for your op, hope it all goes well

Just wondering what to take in to hospital in the way of breast and tummy support. Should i buy some post surgery bras or did they provide all that you needed?

Thanks for your best wishes Lisaf.