looking for experiences of the free tram flap op

Hi Ladies, I am undergoing a free tram flap on both breasts 3 weeks today. I was looking for anyone perhaps to answer questions i have. I know most of the clinical side of it I think! just really looking to know what to expect,how long i will need a corset for, length of time in hosp. I hope im not asking too much! love lainey xx

Hiya Lainey, you helped me out a bit when I was having my ovaries removed - hope you dont mind me jumping on board your thread - Im meeting my nurse tomorrow to start looking at options for recon. Hope you aint too scared! Your option was one I was looking at but all just looks so scarey at moment - unfortunately I would have to travel and my County only has 1 breast surgeon who does recon but its tha back option so looking at them all - hope you get all the answers you need and hope it all goes really well for you.

Im also looking at another masectomy (due to genetic results) so looking for teh double wammy too!!

HI,I do remember you from b4 how are you getting on? i am so terrified i cant put it into words xx

Hey Im scared for you, think its almost harder cos its voluntary if you know what I mean! I have such a fear of hospitals and also the drains and just the whole seeing stitches and scars and being in pain but everyone seems to think its worth it. Im okay at mo ta, getting ovaries out was right decision as brca1 now! Good luck with the Op, I think I might pass out tomorow when she shows me a picture but wanna weigh up all the right options and not just take the one that’s easiest as think I will feel wierd afterwards having boobs back and how do you decide on size, Ive been huge breasted for ages so want to go smaller!!!

All the Best

Hi Lainey

Although not bilateral, I had free tram/DIEP 5 weeks ago and my sister had a fee DIEP 1.5 years ago. I have been amazed at my recovery! My PS didn’t want me to use a corset, but my sister wore one for around 4 to 5 weeks and said she didn’t find it a bother.

The initial pain is totally manageable and yes I had a couple of days post op when I felt rough, but that was more from the anaesthetic effects and discomfort from restricted movement. I was in hospital for 7 days and eventually came home with one drain still in which I then had removed a couple of days later.

After a week, I was taking paracetomol only and week 3 needed nothing. It’s important to do the excercises as they really help with the recovery and although you may feel like you can do stuff you MUST avoid things like vacuuming and vigorous polishing for 8 weeks. I was driving after 3 weeks!

I am going to have to have my other boob lifted and reduced to match, but am thrilled to have got through the “big op” so relatively easy!

Wishing you love and luck


Lisa thats where i struggle as im preventing something i may never get. there is something odd about walking into a hospital well and leaving unwell. regarding sizes i left that to my surgeon to tell me what was right for my frame. now im a 36jj/k ( HUGE) but im only 5ft2 and quite slim so im going for a c/d.
Lisa how do you feel about all this now you know you carry the gene? how are you coping with meno?
i havent been able to have hrt yet until 6 weeks after this op so i have been going it alone which isnt nice. no matter what though i dont regret it love lainey xx

Nikki its so nice to hear positive replies as im so scared. my aunt had the same op about 7/8 months ago and was left with 1 breast as the other didnt take and that made me worse. but they think mines will be okay as im a lot younger than her,havent smoked and generally good health. i hope you continue to make good progress. love lainey xx

Hi Lainey, Im okay about the gene thing really, I was fiarly sure I had it and it was more about getting others tested in family - the menopause thing isnt quite as bad as I anticipated but have a bit more facial hair and few sweats but found the headaches and lack of sleep worse, cos of me being oestrogen positive I cant have hr at all so just gonna have to go with the flow!!! Been today to see my nurse and in my county onlydo latissimus dorsi by a breast surgeon not a plastics but discovered wouldnt do both together, she also seemed to be of the opinion that couldnt use my stomach for both if I went elsewhere but I assume that’s what you are having done? Is it going to be a very long operation? Nikki’s experience sounds hopeful x

Hi Lainey
I’m keen to follow your experiences as I am booked to have a free tram 9 weeks today and starting to panic now ! I had mastectomy in June 2005 followed by chemo and rads and for a long time I didn’t want anything else to do with hospitals. Then I made the decision to go ahead even though I’m feeling rather scared about the whole thing.
I’ve got my pre-op assessment on Monday.
speak soon

Hey ladies,I just wanted to reassure you about the free diep flap op. I had my bilateral reconstruction just over 4 weeks ago (left side delayed, mastectomy & immediate recon on right). To be honest, for me the operation itself was the easiest bit! One minute I was chatting to the anaesthetist, the next I was waking up. The op did take a long time - 15 and a half hours - but I seriously wasn’t aware of that time passing at all, and I felt ok coming round, just very thirsty. Although the first couple of days were a bit of a challenge (in the sense that I couldn’t move much and the room had to be kept pretty hot) once I was able to start getting out of bed, I found I improved quite a lot each day. I can’t tell you how fantastic it feels to have a cleavage again, and although I know it’ll take a few weeks for my new assets to ‘settle down’, in terms of the swelling, etc, it’s just so great to feel ‘normal’ again after 18 months of feeling lop-sided! You have to be patient in terms of the time of recovery, coz your tum will probably feel quite stiff and tight for a while, but hey, it’s flat, so it’s worth it! I’m so glad I’ve had the op, and I hope you all get on really well with yours! xx

Wow, sounds like you had a good op and recoverign well - is it really painful at first as it sounds like I might opt for the same option as I have had one masectomy and awaiting another so it will be delayed and immediate?
Thanks for your comments

Hey Lisa, yeah, mine was delayed reconstruction on the left and immediate on the right, so the new breasts aren’t the same in terms of scarring, but who cares, they’re mine and I love 'em! I would say the recovery from the op so far seems to be more uncomfortable than painful. I mean, after the op, you’re given a morphine pump thingy for a couple of days, and you’re on paracetamol and whatnot, so really, pain wasn’t a big issue. I’ve got to say, I’m pretty squeamish too when it comes to drains and all the rest of it, but you’ve just got to think, this ISN’T for long, and they do try to take the drains and the catheter out as soon as possible to make you feel more normal. One thing I would say is, don’t get a fright when you see your new breasts without the dressing for the first time - I was fine with the delayed one - it looked great, especially since I hadn’t had anything at all there for 18 months. But the immediate reconstruction looked a bit out of shape, I thought - the skin seemed to be quite uneven. It was then explained to me that on the delayed side, they’d taken skin attached to fat from my tum and made a new breast out of it, which is why it looked smooth and even. On the right hand side, they’d kind of hollowed out my breast, saving the skin, and then filled it up again with fat and a wee bit of skin from my tum where the nipple was. That fat had not yet attached itself to the surrounding skin, which was why it looked uneven. Sure enough, the appearance is getting better all the time, they say although it’s called ‘immediate reconstruction’, the results are not immediate, you have to wait a couple of months for it all to settle down. Then if anything needs ‘tweaking’, your surgeon can easily do that. Hope that helps! xx

Wow thanks for the info does settle me a bit and like you say worth it in the end just wish I could have it done local but dont do it in my county.

Hope you keep recovering and thanks for the info xx

Hi ladies, first time experience using this site. I have been reading your stories. I am 46 and had a right sided mastectomy Dec 07 as my estrogen related BC returned in this breast after 7 years. Couldnt believe it. I am now going down the line of having a left RRM (risk reducing mastectomy) and then having a delayed reconstruction on the right side and immediate recon on the left using Diep flap so getting a tummy tuck aswell. It has been on my mind for months now but I have finaly made the decision to go ahead with the op. Im absolutely frightened to death of having the op but just keep reminding myself as to the main reason why I am having it(so that I have no breast tissue for it to come back again in!) and that the final product Im convincing myself will be great. I have spoken to lots of ladies now who have had this procedure (well not all that I am having) and they have recommended this procedure. I have problems with my ovaries too,I have cysts on both and I am having them monitored as they should not be fuctioning due to the medication I am on Faslodex inj once a month in my bottom and Zoloadex inj once a month in my tummy - I’m like a pin cushion. I have been on these two drugs now for 1 year and have put on some weight - just wondered whether anyone else is on them and have you put on weight or had any other side effects. I’ve been suffering from backpain for about 5 weeks now and I’m worried to death that itmay have spread to my bones. Im going for a whole body scan on 20 Feb - Im keeping everything crossed its just back ache and nothing to worry about, but find this hard to do. Thats why Im up now and its 1.10 in the morning I cant sleep.
Sorry if Ive babbled on but would be nice to hear if anyone out there is in the same / similar boat. Love Mandy

Hi, fingers crossed its just back ache. Looking into this op too. Had b cancer on right side, masectomy, chemo, rads, ovaries out and brca1 diagnosed. Just to maybe reassure you, albeit all different, my back was sooo painful was paranoid spread to back, had bone scan and basically just old before my time!!!

Hope goes well xxx

hi all, been to see surgeon today and he only does LD flap and said it was my only option to match up, referring me to plastic surgeon to discuss tummy option but he said it would only work for one side, something to do with blood vessels in the stomach, but surely that cant be true as this is the option you had had/having? Am I right? Almost decided on LD option but then seen this and thinking again.

Where did you have surgery at? I live in Cumbria and wondered if its the only options they do here and in Newcastle.
Thanks for any info

p.s. hope all well x