Tips on Diep reconstruction

I will like to know tips on Diep cos I am going in for surgery next week. Ideas on clothing to take to the hospital. Ideas on how long at the hospital, Time off work. Tummy tuck?What if u have stretch marks on tummy? will it be transfered to the breast or will it be rectified before? Are u confident? Am having a delayed DIEP. Pls any ideas are welcomed. Thanks

Hi BabyGirl,

I have posted below for you the link to BCC’s publication on reconstruction. I hope you find it useful.

Kind regards,
Jo, Facilitator

Hi babygirl

Had delayed diep last Oct.

Op was 9-10 hours long.

In high dependancy 3 nights then 4 on the ward.

Wore hospital gown for 1st few days then button through nighties I got in Matalan - helps when they check the flap and change dressings. Button up pjs would be ok after the drains come out.

They gave me 2 girdles and 1 bra which I had to wear for 6 weeks 24/7. If you buy another bra get one without seams and that has a wide band and is quite supportive I think M&S do a sports bra like that - the one I bought had seams which my PS didn’t like. Some women on here have had to buy support knickers themselves - check before you go in - every hospital and PS are different.

When I got home I slept with loads of pillows (hubby had to buy more) under knees and behind me. My tummy was very tight as I am slim and my new boob is smaller but I didn’t want an implant.

Needed at least 4 months off work then went back gradually - was sleeping in afternoon.

No stretch marks (no kids) but do now have fine hairs on boob! where they got transferred, so I would guess that stretch marks may be moved too.

Do as little as possible and all the exercises they tell you. Don’t stretch sideways too far - I did and pulled the internal stitches where they are attatched to the muscle and had sharp pains for a few weeks until the muscle healed.

Even though the recon is smaller i am so pleased I’ve had it done. I no longer worry about clothes which is such a confidence boost. I feel and look more balanced. Being flat on one side was a constant reminder of what I’d been though and even though there is an oval scar and no nipple I don’t feel that any more.

Good luck next week - will be thinking of you


baby girl

I ditto everything fantan has said. My stay in hospital was a bit longer though. 10 days in all.8 in the high dependency unit. I would say there is not much pain just discomfort. I was lucky enough to have a breast reconstruction nurse who went through everything with me. Also mine was an immediate reconstruction. Overall I am pleased with the results. I did have problems with my tummy but the nurses told me it is quite unusual.

The corset can get uncomfortable but after a while it feels strange without it. I started wearing girdle like knickers over big knickers about week 6.

I suggest a V shaped pillow aswell as the mass of other pillows you may need.

I’m about 9 weeks post op and still my new boob is swollen at the side and car journeys are a bit uncomfortable so take t easy.

good luck hope it helps!


Thank you all for the tips, advices and all !!! Well appreciated. Please do let me know if u remember any more. I do need any advice no matter what.

Thanks from me too - I have just got on on waiting list and seems likely from what they have said that its likely I will have the op in August. Can’t come soon enough even though it is a big op. Can anyone tell me how long it was before they were able to drive?

Thanks again
Twin mummy

I was told not to drive for six weeks after my left mastectomy and immediate DIEP. It’s now 12 weeks and I am driving, but more than 10 miles or so and I’m really tired. I have to do a 13 mile round trip to my daughter’s school a couple of times a week and that is quite enough. Much easier driving my own large automatic, than my daughter’s little manual car, changing gear still makes my tummy ache. I have a port in my chest and find the seatbelt uncomfortable across that, but no trouble from the waist belt. Also having had axillary clearance I still find it very difficult to reach out to close the door when I am a passenger.

I think your insurance company would take it into account if you had an accident because you couldn’t brake or steer suddenly in an emergency situation. I certainly could not have done an emergency stop in the first few weeks, nor even twisted round to reverse.

am on zoladex injection. It is normally given on the tummy but since am going in next week for my op i was advised not to have the injection on my tummy but anywhere else. Has anyone had that experience?

Hi BabyGirl

From reading the postings you will see that even though the diep op is the same, everyone recovers differently and the aftercare from each hospital is different.

I had immediate diep reconstruction 7 weeks ago. I was in ITU for 24 hours and then on the ward for another 7 days. You will have drains in the breast and stomach and also a catheter (which is great as you don’t have to worry about getting out of bed for the loo). You will have pain relief, so you will only be in discomfort not pain.

I didn’t have to wear a corset or anything - just big knickers.

I improved a bit every day when I came home from hospital, even though at the time it felt as though it was taking forever. I am very pleased with the results and have to resist the temptation to show everyone.

I was driving after 4 weeks and this week I have returned to work full time - my choice entirely, no pressure from work. I am due to start chemo in July so I wanted a bit of “normal” before then. People think I am mad to go back to work, but you have got to do what suits you.

Good luck for your op


thanks once again. am counting down. from what i gathered, I think u all are happy with the results. A positive. Does any one know if u can still have children after a DIEP reconstruction?

Hi there

Should see no reason why not?

Just to add, I had my DIEP 8 weeks ago. Was driving after 3 weeks, and corset thing came off then (my surgeon’s say so!). I did sleep in the big bra for a few more weeks as it was comfy. Everyone is different, but I healed really well, and I was more or less back to doing most things after 4 weeks, just a bit tired.

One thing my surgeon did say was that state of mind was a big part of the process. Don’t push yourself, but don’t necessarily treat yourself like a piece of china, especially if you are young. Recovery will be helped that way. Just be sensible and listen to your body as everyone says!

Good luck

Hi ladies I am having masectomy with tummy reconstruction on June 14th 08. We have holiday booked for tukey 4th of August. Will I still be able to go. My son is so looking forward to it because it is the first time he has been able to take his mate. I Know I might not be running around as in previous years. But really dont want to let him down. Doctors will not answer my question. I have no idea how I will feel after. If chemo needed I know I cant go but if not from your experiences what is my chances. x

The one thing that sticks in my mind about the DIEP is that i wouldnt be able to have a baby afterwards. My PS asked me specifically.
I am no expert, so please check with your surgeon on this.


Hi Deb43

You ask if you still will be able to go on your hols (Turkey-mmmmm!) ,well you don’t say if you are having lymph nodes removed aswell. With the op everyone’s recovery is different,I’m about 10 weeks post op and my tummy would be fine,although after about 7 weeks I was back in hospital for another op as my tummy needed restiching. I mentioned the lymph nodes as I’m sure I read about the risk of Lymphoma(not spelt right I know!) with flying.

Best person to ask is your breast care nurse.Doctors never seem to commit to anything as they can’t make any promises

I hope it does happen for you,but it’s a big op so like Rebecca said take it easy and don’t push yourself to hard - good luck!

Hi all!!!
Am back from the big op! Had my surgery last Thursday and am back home today. still very uncomfortable round the tummy, walking slightly bent. My PS told me that i dont have to wear a corset. I found it strange but i had to listen to him. Did any of you experience the same ie not wearing a corset?

Hi babygirl

Well done and welcome home! Enjoy taking things easy. As you know from my other posting I wore the girdle for 6 weeks and I have to say I found it a comfort. It felt supportive. Maybe invest in some big knickers for a few weeks. I think my PS likes his patients to wear a girdle because he thinks it helps to knit the tissues back together.

I walked bent for a while too. I went for a little walk with someone every day - just to the end of the road initially.

My husband came in the shower with me the first time to help me wash my hair and the bits I couldn’t reach!!

Look after yourself and be kind to yourself. xxx

Hi Deb43

I had my delayed diep at the end of Oct 2007 and we went away for Christmas. It was 7 weeks. We flew to Italy (not as far as Turkey). On the surgeon’s advice, I took asprin for a few days before, while I was there and for a week when we got back. I also wore the lovely TEDS socks (the ones they give you in hospital) during the flight. Talk to your surgeon and BC nurse.

I hope you can go as you’ll be able to really take things easy.

You don’t say how old your son is - will they be able to entertain themselve safely if you need to sleep in the afternoon - I was still napping 3 months after!. Also is it just you or is there a partner who can manage the cases - I didn’t carry or lift anything. Your travel insurance should cover the holiday if you do have to cancel.

Good luck with the op - not long now!

fantan xxx

Hi Fantan,

Thanks a lot for ur advise. just bought big knickers for comfort. I really wonder why my PS specifically doesn’t like his patients wearing girdle. my tummy is still swollen. Do u reckon that it will go down in size am 13 days post op. Any advise will be appreciated from any one that had same surgery.