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Recovery after diep flap reconstruction

22 REPLIES 22
Lambo129
Member

Re: Recovery after diep flap reconstruction

Hi Rosie 

glad it's all healing for you, it's not what we need to have open wounds when we have been through so much already. It should be a time to get our confidence back and enjoy our new boobs.  My husband has booked me a trip away next weekend, shopping and a hotel and I intend on buying myself something nice.  

Take care xx

rosie14
Member

Re: Recovery after diep flap reconstruction

Hi Lambo the wound is healing music quicker now they have changed the packing to sorbson! The hospital were pleased want to see me again early next month. The nurses still coming in every day! Hopefully in another week I will be able to manage it myself and it won't need packing. It was 1.5 cms deep , 8 cms long and 5 cms wide! Now it is .5 cms deep. Not sure about the other measurements but they must have reduced!
Glad you finally have a date with you consultant! 😊

Lambo129
Member

Re: Recovery after diep flap reconstruction

Hi Rosie 

i was at hospital today and wound on my stomach no longer needs a dressing, have a small one on my boob but hope to get rid of that next week. 

I have a date with my consultant now , 10th Feb!!! I will be 13 weeks post op. So glad I didn't have any major problems. 

Hope all went well with your appointment xx

rosie14
Member

Re: Recovery after diep flap reconstruction

Hi Lambo I agree with you totally! I am 7 weeks post op today and still having the district nurse come to pack and change my dressing on abdomen wound! I didn't have the vac pack after all! I have also noticed this am some spotting from a sore spot on the edge of my rt flap!😧
I have my 6 week check at hospital tomorrow I have a feeling they won't sign me off yet! Surely your consultant has another team member that you could have an appointment with???
I am still wearing my Bridget Jones underware and crop tops!😞 My hip swelling has gone down considerably but I still feel swollen in all regions!!!!
Onward and upward stay in touch good to hear from someone in the same position as me! X
Lambo129
Member

Re: Recovery after diep flap reconstruction

Hi ladies

i didn't have double diep just single. I am now 9 weeks post op and still attending hospital every week for dressing changes. I only go once a week now as they let me change them at home as my wound opening has gone from about 6 inches to 1 inch still open.  I also have a small bit on my new boob which doesn't seem to want to heal. They keep changing my dressing type and did discuss the vacuum one but didn't go down that route. 

I am now getting out and about but haven't seen my consultant for my "6 week" check as apparently he is too busy. 

People say it must be great to have such a flat tummy but it's no good when the rest of me is still so fat!!

hope you guys are recovering well xx

Weeannie1
Member

Re: Recovery after diep flap reconstruction

Sorry for the tardy response Rosie. Back at work and very busy. I still had to go back to the hospital to renew my electronic dressings, but it was so much more comfortable than conventional bandages. And they lasted a good few days before I needed them changed. Sure these must be the same as the vacuum dressings that you mentioned. Hope they're a success for you X 

rosie14
Member

Re: Recovery after diep flap reconstruction

Thanks for your response Weeannie1 that is encouraging! Did you have to keep going back to hospital or did surgery nurse or district nurse help you out? Or is it something you can deal with yourself?🤔
Weeannie1
Member

Re: Recovery after diep flap reconstruction

Hi Rosie,

 

i had my double DIEP op over a year ago and also had trouble with leakage for several months. I was fitted with a pump bandage, and it's basically a stick on bandage which draws fluid from your wound using a small battery operated pump. It's really good because it keeps your wounds dry, meaning they should heal a little quicker. Took me the best part of 4 months to finally heal up, but not had any problems since. Hope you have a similar outcome. All the best and take care, Ann X X 

rosie14
Member

Re: Recovery after diep flap reconstruction

Hi Lambo I am 5 weeks post op am due I have developed open wound! I have to see the nurse at the surgery 2-3 times a week and have to attend the hospital once a week!
I have an appointment at the plastics clinic on Thursday and they are going to use a vacuum dressing! Not sure what to expect!
Did you have a single or double flap? I have had double. I am finding the the new flaps feel very tight as does the ab I am still very swollen!
Let me know how you get on!
Lambo129
Member

Re: Recovery after diep flap reconstruction

Hi ladies,I've not had a great time of it as I developed an infection in my stomach wound and part of my breast wound.  My stomach wound has re opened now and I'm needing to attend the hospital twice a week to have it dressed.  They say it is quite common and I need to be patient and take it easy but I'm now 6 weeks post op and didn't expect to still be living in leggings and joggy bottoms thought I might have managed something nice to wear at Xmas especially as I have a nice flat stomach too.  

I'm sure once the wound heels it will all be worth it, I am loving having a cleavage back it makes all the difference xx

rosie14
Member

Re: Recovery after diep flap reconstruction

Hi I went to plastics clinic today and they are pleased with the wounds. The swelling they say is due to,extensive bruising and I have some seroma on the left ab and under both arms but they don't want to aspirate unless it gets worse over the weekend due to the risk of infection!
Good luck with the end of chemo I had mine 2 years ago and have had a 3 year journey!!

See See
Member

Re: Recovery after diep flap reconstruction

Hi all,

 

I had a diep reconstruction on 30th June. I went down a dress size as my tummy is now flat.  I have no pain though my tummy does sometimes feel a bit tight. It seems to be when I've eaten more than usual. My scars are fading and my new breast is more smoothly shaped. 

 

I did have a serious infection after surgery and developed seromas in my stomach and my new breast swelled. I had further surgery to clear the infections and to drain the breast. There have been no problems since.

 

Look out for swelling or signs of infection and get in touch with the hospital straight away.

 

Also, do all the physio exercises, as they really help to speed up recovery and get the movement back in your arm and help you stand up straight. 

 

I'm slowly coming to the end of chemo which I've found to be much more of a challenge than surgery as it's harder to recover and there's less you can do help yourself.

 

good luck

 

Cathy

rosie14
Member

Re: Recovery after diep flap reconstruction

Hi Lambo I have joined your club!!! Today I am 14 days post op! My surgery was 30/11 I was in hospital,for 9 days as I had to have a blood transfusion. I had a bialateral DIEP. The pain and discomfort was controlled in hospital and I was also given anti sickness drugs that I haven't been given to,come home with! I have stopped taking the codiene as they make me feel very sick! Am now just taking paracetamol and ibuprofen. I am not completely pain and discomfort free but it is manageable! I have developed a swelling over my right hip which I hope is due to bruising! I am due at the plastics clinic tomorrow morning so hopefully they will reassure me! Like you I am focusing on Christmas and seeing the family!
I am trying to,walk a little,further each day but I still can't stand properly!
Onward and Upward!
Lambo129
Member

Re: Recovery after diep flap reconstruction

Hi powdow and leane, thanks for sharing your experience with me.  I think the tramadol is working although still have some discomfort.  I find that in the morning things are not too bad but by the end of the day my stomach is very hard and my back aches a lot!!!!!!

im just trying to look forward to Christmas because by then I should be doing well x

leanne
Member

Re: Recovery after diep flap reconstruction

I also found the DIEP massively painful across my tummy (no pain at all anywhere else) for the first two weeks and after hospital I took tramadol, paracetemol and ibuprofen at home for the pain.  Definitely make use of the pain killers in the early weeks if you need to!  I couldn't lie down flat or stand up properly for three to four weeks, which was tiring too.  My tummy still feels tight now (op was end of May) but it rapidly improved after the initial couple of weeks.  I was also wishing I'd taken an easier option immediately after the surgery but now I'm so glad I chose the DIEP as the result is so good.  It's definitely been worth it in the end!

Powdow
Member

Re: Recovery after diep flap reconstruction

My op was on 7th Sept. I had mastectomy with immediate Diep recon.
I had no pain at all after my op. I was on paracetamol, diclofenic, dihydracodeine and a liquid morphine in hospital. When I came out after a week I still had the same pain relief apart from the morphine, and gradually cut it all down. I was also numb in all the op areas.
The only feeling I had was a tightness in the tummy area. Once I was out if hospital after a week I was walking straight and the only thing was my tummy would feel tighter by end of day.
I am 9 weeks post surgery (if I have counted correctly!)and I now get some sharp stabbing pains on the sites which I am guessing is things knitting together but as I'm not so numb now I can feel it.
As for movement, everything is back to normal, I can sit up from a lying position only using my stomach muscles and I guess I do everyday things now without thinking about it.
Glad you now have some pain relief, it did seem odd not to have any. I took everything that was going!!
Lambo129
Member

Re: Recovery after diep flap reconstruction

Hi guys, was at my doctor today and wad given tramadol.  I don't normally take pain killers so will see how it goes on these over the next few days, I've taken them today and I feel better but will see how I sleep.

thanks for all your support, it is a shock I didn't realise how bad I would feel after this op but looking forward too the next few weeks when I'm feeling better.

 

helen X 

Sodastream
Member

Re: Recovery after diep flap reconstruction

Helen, glad to hear you have a Dr's appointment to get some stronger painkillers.  I know how you feel about struggling with not being able to do much but it will get better I promise.  I couldn't get my surgical stockings on or off and they needed to be worn for 3 weeks and I hated having to ask my hubby or daughter to help.  I also hated that I couldn't pick up anything from the floor and wished I'd bought a litter pick up stick that you can get in Argos to help me.  I can honestly say week 5 was a huge turning point with me being able to do a lot more and by week 6 back to most things but not exercising yet.  Let us know how you get on. X

swampy1901
Member

Re: Recovery after diep flap reconstruction

Hi Lambo1

I'm glad you have an appointment sorted - so hopefully you'll be feeling a lot more comfortable very soon. Just how little you can do after such an operation is a major shock to the system - but soon you will be able to little things and then you will be surprised at how quickly you begin to recover.

Even now I still wear the support bra - definitely all day and depending on how it feels after a full day I will sometimes wear it at night too and definitely wear big girl pants - for comfort and support. My plastic surgeon says she is always amazed at how soon people revert back to wearing thongs and other unsuitable underwear. You need the support to assist the areas that have been operated on no matter how long it takes.

Let us know how you get on with the doc!!

Lambo129
Member

Re: Recovery after diep flap reconstruction

Hi guys thanks for your replies and support. I have an appointment at the doctors tomorrow so hopefully will get some pain killers and some relief. I know it is early days Ian just normally a very active person and I'm struggling with how little I can do. 

 

Sodastream am I am wearing a support bra and although I have some pain in the chest it's more the tummy I am struggling with. 

 

Swampy1901 sorry to hear you had some problems it sounds as if you have had a terrible time of it, glad you are now on the mend. 

 

Thanks for for sharing your experiences with me.

 

helen

xx

swampy1901
Member

Re: Recovery after diep flap reconstruction

Hi Lambo

Frustrating though it may be - it is really early days yet. I initially had quite strong pain relief in hospital but feeling spaced out of it and high as a kite - I soon knocked it on the head and only had paracetemol and ibuprofen which could be alternated and spaced out over every two to three hours which kept the pain under control.

Unfortunately I also developed a haematoma which compromised the wound and was drained and after weeks of dressing changes by district nurses I was eventually attached to a vaccum pump to get things sorted and under control. So 3 months after my operation I am nearly at the end of needing dressings but I can understand your pain. Even now when I'm much more active and am out on occasion walking with my daughter and her dog - I still get the tension and stretching across my stomach but I had been warned that full recovery and movement could take as long as up to a year but everyone is different.

You do need to be kind to yourself and take as long as you need to allow your body to recover but don't be afraid to use pain relief. See your GP if you feel you need strong pain relief but you may well find a codeine based tablet may be sufficient and then move to paracetemol/ibuprofen. I'm very surprised that you appear to have been discharged without pain relief but it is something that can be sorted really quickly so you can be more comfortable.

Don't be doing anything strenuous, certainly no hoovering and stuff like that - to begin with it - it took me an hour to iron a shirt  with rest breaks for my tummy. So you are not alone - try not to be impatient and let your body recover and get some painkillers!!

 

Sodastream
Member

Re: Recovery after diep flap reconstruction

Hi Helen. If you're in pain you should get some stronger pain relief as your surgical team wouldn't want you to be suffering. It is very early days so please be gentle on yourself and allow time to heal. I'm 6 weeks post TUG reconstruction where they used my thigh and for the first 3 weeks I shuffled along at snail pace, couldn't pick anything up from the floor, put my shoes on and struggled to get dressed. Things got a little easier in week 4 despite an infection in my donor site. Week 5 saw me pretty much back to normal and I returned to work this week. I was given a brown waterproof tape to put on my scars and change weekly and have only just stopped wearing it and started massaging my scars with bio oil. I'm still wearing my bra to bed but have finally ditched the cycle shorts which I wore 24/7 for 6 weeks. Are you wearing support underwear?
Keep thinking long term instead of short term and the next few weeks will soon be a blur in the past. X
Lambo129
Member

Recovery after diep flap reconstruction

Hi guys I've not really used this forum but I am looking for some support. My background is, diagnosis in August 2015 and started chemo in sept 2015, mx in January 2016 followed by radiotherapy in March.  

I have just had a diep flap reconstruction and the pain is incredible.  I know I only had it on 9th November and the results are fantastic but I would like to know how to best look after my scars and how long recovery has been for other people.

i know it's early days but I sometimes ask why did I do this, I feel as if the skin on my stomach is about to split across the middle. I had only just recovered from the mx and now feel 100 steps backwards. 

I am discharged with no morphine and feel my body has now gone into shock.

 

i would love to hear your advice and hear how well people are after this op..

 

helen

xx