i didn't have a DIEP but have had a TUG reconstruction using my thigh. Mine was a delayed reconstruction because I needed a full mastectomy including all skin due to a rare aggressive tumour. My surgeon wanted to leave time for my skin to settle after radiotherapy so I had my reconstruction 2 years post mastectomy. Like you I worried about putting myself through such a big operation and was also offered an implant. The plastic surgeon I eventually ended up with said that he had seen plenty of implants that had capsulated and although initially it was a much bigger operation the flap reconstructions definitely gave the best long term results.
it was tough for 6 weeks, especially as I got an infection in my thigh wound however despite this I have been delighted with the results and grin from ear to ear when looking in the mirror. I have an amazing warm, squidgy breast that looks and feels so natural. Sometimes we have to look at the long term and weigh up 6 weeks recovery in the scale of a lifetime. That being said I would question your surgical team on the effects of radiotherapy on your reconstruction. Good luck.
Thanks Chloe, that's good to hear! I've stopped reading the horror stories and am focussing on the fact that for a lot of women this procedure is amazing, I'm extremely pleased for you that you seem to be one of them 🙂
Thanks for taking the time to reply both. I didn't realise about the tissue expander but have since come to a decision for the DIEP after a long chats with various friends. I think I always wanted it but I'm just really scared of the long op and the impact it has on the rest of my body.
The plastic surgeon I saw the other day said he always sees the implant patients after the initial surgery is complete but hardly ever sees a DIEP patient again. That's so appealing I'm willing to get over my fear of the big op 🙂 x
I would certainly discuss tissue expander option with your surgeon, I have the same as Argymargy for the same reasons and will also have full reconstruction next year.
I had a third option (which you may not have been offered) which is to have a temporary reconstruction with an expanding implant. The reason is because I will definitely have radiotherapy. The DIEP could be damaged if you have radiotherapy, so perhaps this should not be counted as a "For" reason. I will have permanent reconstruction next year to replace the implant with my own tissue - unfortunately not from my tummy but either back or thigh. Yes it means another operation but I will avoid the risk of radiotherapy damaging my future breast.
Best of luck.
I am having a skin sparing immediate rebuilld mastectomy in a few weeks time - just the one side, after a diagnosis of DCIS. I'm a B cup with just enough fat to build a boob if I have a DIEP.
I really need some help as I am flip flopping and I can't make a decision!!! My rebuild choices are as follows:
1. Single implant
Against - I will forever have one boob feeling different to the other
Against - If I need radiation after they have analysed my tissue after my mastectomy the implant could go hard (unlikely as I have already had a clear sentinel node but could happen)
Against - Risk of scar tissue misshaping implant
Against - ongoing surgery replacing implants every 10 years
For - minimal downtime
For - I'm a good candidate for a match, the surgeon said one of the best he had ever seen (small round boobs)
For - My surgeon is very experience at DIEPs and has done hundreds, the results I have seen at least have been very good
For - natural feeling boobs
For - if I need radiation there is nothing to go hard
Against - I'm scared of such a long op - although I can get over this
Against - If I don't like the results there's no other road to go down
Against - lots of scarring and interfering with healthy parts of my body.
What would you do / what did you do for a single reconstruction. They need to know by next week!