How Long Does DIEP flap Breast Reconstruction Surgery Take?

How Long Does DIEP flap Breast Reconstruction Surgery Take? This is a question I wanted to write about after attending PSTM17 in Orlando as a patient advocate. Speaking to ASPS board certified plastic surgeons at the meeting afforded me the opportunity to understand the answer to, how long does a DIEP flap breast reconstruction surgery take? It is an intricate, microsurgical procedure that includes incisions and work on both the abdominal area and the breast area. The assumption is, the surgery is long. In fact, when assessing my own DIEP flap, I often report my DIEP flap lasted nine hours. What we don’t often take into consideration is what the surgery entails from start to finish. I reviewed my own surgical report to write this blog. I also spoke with plastic surgeons at PSTM17 and wanted to share some important points of discussion. I gathered information from my sister, a nurse, Continue Reading →

Intimacy ~ Touching your breasts after DIEP flap surgery

Intimacy ~ Touching Your Breasts after DIEP flap Surgery This blog has been sitting in my archives for quite some time.  Intimacy and touching your breast after DIEP flap surgery seems like an unabashed topic to write about. The intimacy of the content and the shared photos delayed my writing. Respect for my fellow DIEP flap sisters and touching your breasts after this surgery is not something every woman wants to do. I know this to be true because I talk to women who feel this way. I fully respect all the complexities that surround the new sensation of your DIEP flap breasts.  The purpose of my blog is to share my experience and in some way, empower breast reconstruction patients to embrace their new breasts after they have healed from surgery and to feel comfortable touching their newly reconstructed breasts. If my suggestions and story work for you, I Continue Reading →

You Come First after Breast Reconstruction

You Come First after Breast Reconstruction One of the best pieces of advice I can give to those I talk to planning their surgery, “You come first after breast reconstruction.”  It is a very difficult concept and mantra to adopt when you are so used to caring for others.  It is particularly challenging for those who go into breast reconstruction feeling healthy and fit, going about their daily routine of cooking, cleaning, carpooling, mothering, caring for others, and working a full-time job.  A sudden change in that routine is hard to wrap your mind around.  Believe me, it stops very suddenly after breast reconstruction but it IS temporary and so worth taking the time to put yourself first. We don’t realize how much bending, twisting, and lifting we do each day.  I have been on the phone with individuals answering questions about the recovery process.  While I am speaking with Continue Reading →

Burns in Reconstructed Breasts after Mastectomy and Breast Reconstruction

Burns in Reconstructed Breasts after Mastectomy and Breast Reconstruction An article published in Medscape.com on burns in breasts after mastectomy which also included after breast reconstruction admittedly left me riveted.  Look at this statement from the article: Together with this case series, the literature suggests the most common heat sources responsible for the identified burns included: Heat conduction: using heating pads, hot liquids, and hyperthermia devices. Solar radiation: sunbathing with a dark swimsuit or using a sun lamp. Heat convection: using hair dryers. A close examination of this article and the above-mentioned items leads me to conclude that the most common culprits are household items and sunbathing.  I was given literature regarding post-surgical care from the plastic surgeon who performed my DIEP flap breast reconstruction to clearly avoid heat of any kind to my reconstructed breast, including standing with my back to the shower as well as sunbathing. I personally Continue Reading →

One Year Post DIEP flap Breast Reconstruction

One Year Post DIEP flap Breast Reconstruction I am now one year post DIEP flap breast reconstruction. I was finalizing my surgical prep exactly one year ago today as I write this blog. My surgery was the morning of December 1, 2014.  So how am I doing now? How does my body feel? Do I have any regrets? Would I suggest having DIEP flap surgery to other women? Was I truly able to “just get on with it”? I’m doing just splendidly! I honestly believe that I’m doing quite well, in fact splendidly, and enjoying many benefits from having DIEP flap surgery after a second breast cancer diagnosis and double mastectomy. I want the reader to know so that you have hope. I just opened my social media accounts this morning before I began writing this blog post. I read a statement from a woman who was just going in Continue Reading →

Postoperative DIEP flap Recovery

Postoperative DIEP flap Recovery Postoperative DIEP flap recovery, pain management, and progress with movement and activity, are some of the most common questions, concerns, and fears women ask me about. I wanted to share my photos in this blog to give women visual of progress I made during my recover from DIEP flap surgery. This was my recovery time and everyone will be different to some degree. I had very few “hiccups” in my recovery and it went as expected. The most difficult part for me was not pain, which was controlled quite well. My challenge came in lying still for five days. But as I frequently tell interested candidates, you have just been re-sculpted by an artist, your plastic surgeon. Treat your piece of art, your newly built breasts, with respect and nurture it back to health with patience and care. All good art work takes time! My First Continue Reading →