Skin necrosis after DIEP

Hi everybody, I wonder if anybody out there has had skin necrosis after DIEP reconstruction. I had op on November 7 th and thought whilst in hospital everything was going smoothly until I was being hurriedly discharged when I noticed my bra was rather damp with fresh blood. I asked for it to be looked, the dre sing was changed and I was told a blister had burst. Before see ing the BCN I had dressing checked a couple of times at local GP surgery. When the nurse re moved the dressing last Wednesday she again talked of a burst blister that w old take a long time to heal. Today I returned to have it checked only to find the surgeon there too. He then told me I had a skin necrosis and that 10% of women had this problem. I actually saw it for the first time today and it was horrid! About one eighth of my breast is like black shiny plastic. I was given the option of either treating it conservatively and leaving it up to Mother Nature in which case it will take about 3 months of changing dressing daily and having frequent check ups to ensure there is no infection. The best result would be a patchy uneven Mis-matched breast. Alternatively I could have further surgery with skin graft from my thigh which would heal up much quicker than leaving it to do its own thing. My second breast, although healthy is much bigger and droopier, and reduction is of course now put much further back to no earlier than 6 months time.
Oh deary me. Has anybody else had this experience and how long did it really take to grow new skin? Was the breast sore for all that time? How did it make them feel emotionally? I should really like to find others who have coped with this hiccup in their recovery. Lilymole

Hi lilymole

I am sorry to read you’re having such a tough time. I’m sure some of the other users will be along soon to offer you their support and experiences. In the meantime you might find it helpful to talk things through with a member of staff on the helpline.  Here you can share your concerns with someone who will offer you a listening ear as well as emotional support and practical information. The number to call is 0808 800 6000 and the lines are open Monday to Friday 9 to 5pm and Saturday 10 to 2pm.

Best wishes Sam, BCC Facilitator

Hi Lilymole, I had surgery on 19th November and like you had to have my dressing changed the day after I was discharged from hospital due to bleeding. While changing my dressing the BCN mentioned the blisters I had on my breast which up until now I had not noticed. She got a pin and popped them all, except a large one that was in my cleavage. The nurse said the blisters were along the wound sight and were sometimes caused from not wearing a fully supportive fitted bra. I was in so much discomfort wearing the bras I had brought for post surgery, my mum had given me a couple of her soft sports bras, which I had chosen to wear and they were not providing enough support. I got a bra extender from M&S which I used on my bras and I am now able to wear them with comfort. I have been applying sudacream to the blister I can see, as advised by my BCN, which has now scabbed and completely healed. I haven’t noticed any changes with the other blisters, so it seems they will not cause me anymore problems, although I still have my dressings on so it is quite difficult to tell. I had an theraputic mammoplastic operation. I hope this is of some help x

I had skin necrosis as well, thought I would never get better. In the end had to have implant removed. Started with silicone, infection, then taken out and replaced with expander, then skin started to break down, saline removed, still had necrosis, in fact had a cavity, and could actually see the implant. Had the that removed, and then bled, so further surgery!! So, now flat, but the side with recent DCIS had silicone implant and was fine, this was a side I had implant 13 year ago, and removed as did not look right, was twisted when removed. Long journey… Just want a bra now, and feel normal!The end result, did heal… after 2x daily dressings, and permanatly feeling wet on one side.

Hi, I realise this post is three years old. I wonder how you got on? I am 2.5 weeks post double DIEP and have known since I woke up that a 3 inch square patch below one one breast was failing and would require a graft. Its an annoying bump in the road but at least it will only be day surgery. Hope you are happy now that time has past. Vicki