Physical limitations

Physical limitations

Physical limitations I’m interested to know what, if any, limitations people have had following reconstructive surgery using muscle from the back. I have to wait the approprte length of time after my rads however I want to get as much info as I can in advance to help me make a decision. My BC nuse told me I will have limitations as such a large peice of muscle is cut and used to make a new breast. I’m a very active person, walking, back packing, swimming, weight ride a motorbike, and it horrifies me to think I may not be able to continue with everything I’ve always enjoyed. My nurse gave me the example of another lady she works with, who was previously a competitive wind surfer. Following her reconstruction using this method, she can no longer wind surf let alone compete. I’ve also read somewhere that women who ski, can’t carry on after this type of surgery. If this is the case, I don’t think I want to have it done. I don’t want a reconstruction using stomach muscle as the scarring looks terrible and I’ve been told that will limit my activity too.

what have peoples’ experiences been? If I am going to be significantly limited, I’d rather not have it done.



Hello Geraldine You sound as if you are a real action women, unlike me.

I had this op 14 months ago and I haven’t felt it restricting at all although I’m not into sports. The only thing my surgeon told me in passing was that I wouldn’t be able to ski or climb and as I have never done or intend to do either I wasn’t concerned about that. You need to have a really good talk to someone experienced to find out exactly what you will or won’t be able to do, I can’t see it effecting your life in general.

I am glad I had the reconstruction and there was very little pain, but it is obviously something you have to think about very seriously.

Best of luck.


Hi Geraldine
I had a DIEP reconstruction for these very reasons. It’s a longer op, and not suitable for everyone. However I’m an exercise instructor, and this was the best op for me; no disruption of any muscles, as the flesh from the abdomen is removed and used to form a breast, joining up the blood vessels with micro surgery. No implants are needed either, so there should be no further ops needed in the future.
Another bonus is a flat tummy! There is a scar, fading fast though. As muscle wasn’t cut here I can still do all my abdominal work as before.
However, only plastic surgeons can do this op, as it is so complex (the micro-surgery bit) So it is not always offered in every hospital. You can ask to be referred to a plastic surgeon.
I was back teaching after 4 months, and it looks totally real.
I hope you reach a decision that works for you. There is lots of information on this site about DIEP surgery.
x Helen

Factsheet Hi Geraldine

I have given the link here to the factsheet, referred to be dancinggirl, on reconstruction which is produced by Breast Cancer Care. This can be either downloaded or ordered through the site.

I do hope you find this information of help.

Kind regards

Online Host
Breast Cancer Care

Implant only Hi Geraldine…
Just thought I would let you know what I decided. I had a mastectomy in 2005…and have spent the last few months deciding what type of reconstruction to have. I’m 29 and a very active person and worried about taking the muscle out of my back. Last week I had a tissue expander put in and once the skin has been expanded I will have an implant. To me this seemed like the one that was allowing me to have reconstruction without cutting anyother part of my body…I’m quite skinny so there is not much of me anyway!
Got to tell you it feels great…I only have a small amount of saline in the expander at the minute and it already looks almost exactly like by other breast - I’m so happy with it.
Have a good think and explore all options…talk to as many people as you can…
wishing you well

Katey x

Thanks Thanks for the replies. They’ve certainly been helpful. I’ve been told I can’t have an implant and tissue expander. I’m about to start rads and have been told my skin won’t stretch afterwards to allow for this procedure. Anyway, I could still include this in any conversation I have jsut to make sure I cover all of the bases.

Many thanks


Hi Geraldine
I had LD reconstruction,no implant about a year ago - post surgery made sure had physio and did the exercises everyday-
I have full stretch and swim when work permits about 3 times a week also play tennis about once a week. My hospital did not offer DIEP.
I am pleased with results even though it is slightly smaller than the other breast and the back occasionally feels a bit tight depends how active I have been!
Hope this helps with your decision and good luck.

Hi Geraldine. I had a DIEP because I didn’t want muscle moved- exercise is extremely important to me. I had it on 24th Sept last year and am typing this after coming back from a 6 mile run- very theraputic and knackering! However, I am having an op on 26th Feb to tidy up the reconstruction, but it isn’t a big op and I will be back on the run when I’m over that one- what I’m trying to say is that there can be complications, as with any op -but I don’t regret having it done. I know that exercising is helping me recover mentally. When my surgeon went through the options and said that a (retired) athelete had had this recon at the hospital and was still coaching and running that made my mind up for me.

Good luck in making a decision, let me know if I can be of help.
Barbara xxx

Oops! Forgot to say that I also went back to weight training after xmas- took the advice of a fab physio and went back as if I was starting from scratch and am now almost back up to the weights I was lifting before. Off now to shower- cold and sweaty!
Barbara xxx

For mrsbabs Hi Barbara,
I noticed your reply to Geraldine and was pleased to see that you’re back to your usual activities following the DIEP. I wouldn’t say that I am fit as you but I belong to a walking group and it was just good to hear you sound so positive and to hear that you’re able to get on with things. I am having the DIEP sometime this year so I am keen to hear the “good” stories before I scare myself out of having another op!
All the best,

Thanks! Hi Beth,
Thanks for taking the time to reply, glad to be of help. If you want any more info let me know, am on the other site as mrsbabs, you can send a private message if it helps.
Love from Barbara xxx

tennis advice please! Hello Squeaky

I love playing tennis and am really worried that having the LD op will stop me from being able to do this, so was really excited to hear that you have had the procedure and are still playing! Was the op on the same side as your serve? If so, can you still serve? Is the rest of your game okay? I’m no pro but it is by far my favourite active hobby and I’d hate to have to give it up.

You give me some hope that this is part of my life I won’t have to lose. If you know of any other tennis players that have had the same op and are still playing I’d love to hear about it!

Many thanks
Glad to hear things are going well for you, and you are able to keep active