Implant advice (if I go with that option over Diep Flap)

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Hi, 

I was recently diagnosed with high grade mass forming DCIS (5.5cm) …my breasts are a large C at the moment, normally a B (I’m a stone over my normal weight). Mass is right breast inner centre, but would leave a half flat breast when removed. May need to take nipple. 

I am going to see plastic surgeon to learn about Diep, however my stomach is the one area I love. I hate my bottom half even when slim (bad circulation, lots of cellulite, area holds all my fat). So am thinking even though I want natural looking and feeling breasts, I will look in the mirror after and see two ‘ruined’ areas I hate. So I’m swaying toward implants.

Surgeon says implants are cold and don’t feel great and have greater risk of issues. Do they really feel that bad? I will probably get the ok breast done to match privately if they wouldn’t do it at the same time. I’m not bothered about having large breasts, a large B or normal C is fine…but will they feel cold? I have Raynauds and other Autoimmune conditions.

I don’t want to hate them and regret the choice. Those of you who have had implants…do they feel awful? Xx

  • Hi there, sorry to gear you are on this journey, it's scary but asking questions and availing of resources really helps. I had a right side mastectomy last year ( 2 tumours) and I had an implant reconstruction the same day. I was encouraged to not go the diep route as they suspected I would need chemo and radio, which I did. Anyway,  to answer your question,  I honestly never think of my implant as cold! Like, it's firm and a bit squishy and it's weird having no feeling there but it's fine. I did great to keep my nipple but with no sensation there....if you can't keep it and can get a tattoo,....

    Honestly I'm really happy with mine, I lost a lot of weight with chemo, so it became bigger than the other side with rippling but im putting the weight back on again so it looks good. I'm fortunate to have had no issues,  so much so I barely think about the fact it isn't really my body! I know not everyone can say the same but it's important to know it can be a really good option.

  • Hi Green bird , can I  ask about your recovery after the operation,  I am having the same procedure on the 23rd Nov.

    Mamy thanks x

  • Of course, it took about 6 weeks to recover. The first few are  all about pain mgmt, take everything they offer! You know,  I was really scared beforehand which is natural, and I was sooooo relieved afterwards, and with the drugs I was kind of ecstatic to be over it! I stayed in for 1 night and I forgot the heart shaped pillow I'd been given by my macmillan nurse but another nurse got me a pillow to rest my arm on. After the first few days it was mainly the areas around the drains that were sore. I had 2 drains, 1 came out after a week but the other took another 2 I think, it varies for everyone but it was fine to manage. Loose clothes, tops that have zips or buttons, it's hard to raise your arms for a while. Pyjama tops. I had a big v shaped pillow as you have to sleep slightly raised....I still use it to this day! After about 3 days I was very emotional,  apparently that's common after an op and the drugs. I made sure to go out for walks after a few days but I was really slow, especially on any incline. You will be tired and it takes time. Managing bathing or showering is hard at first with the drains, I did need help from my husband to hold them away while I bathed. All in all I can honestly say it was ok, and about 6 weeks to feel strong although longer to be fully recovered. I found chemo more physically demanding and thats a whole other story. I did use the breast cancer now website a lot, I posted there at the time about my experience but I've forgotten a lot now! I'm back on this site for other reasons but I'll keep an eye out for your questions and will answer what I can. I know its a very scary time and everything is happening soooo fast but be kind to yourself,  its OK to be scared and anxious,  it's to be expected.  If you can distract yourself over the next couple of weeks doing fun stuff that you might not get to do for a while. Take care x

  • First few days are about pain mgmt, not weeks!! Sorry about the typo!

  • Thankyou sooo much for taking your time to share your experience , I hope you are now on the road to recovery.. I am stragley looking forward to the surgery as I just want the cancer gone and this is a step in the right direction.   

    Thanks again HeartHeart

  • Thank you so much for taking the time to reply, this really helps :-).

    I’m definitely thinking more implant route as I’m ok with not having ‘perfect’ boobs and learning to live with something that feels a little odd but ok, and knowing that yours felt just that and not so cold is helpful. The Diep flap seems extreme to me when I like my stomach, I just fear I’d dislike two parts of my body after it and it seems so much more for my body to go through. I feel I’d rather get used to an area of my body feeling strange for a while …plus both routes seem to be left with numbness etc from what I’ve read. 

    Hopefully I will have a similar experience to you. I’m due to see plastic surgeon Monday re Diep but I’m definitely thinking even with this info I’ll opt implant.

    Thank you so much :-)

  • That's really good to have a positive attitude if you can. It's a lot to deal with so looking forward to getting surgery done will help you in the coming weeks for sure. Take care

  • It's a lot to weigh up for sure, one thing to consider is the fact that at some point you have to get implant replaced. I don't think I fully appreciated that at the time, apparently its about 15 years so depending on age it might not be a thing- some women choose to go flat. But I would still choose the implant if I was starting again, less recovery,  less scars and body changes and it suited my condition at the time. That's just my experience and I considered my overall health and lifestyle too. Best of luck with surgeon conversation, hopefully they can provide more clarity too. Take care x

  • Hi I am three weeks post-mastectomy (inc removal of my nipple) with an immediate implant reconstruction.  I felt as though I was being encouraged to take the DIEP flap but for various reasons, one being I didn't want 2 surgical sites to deal with I chose the implant (there were other reasons I opted for the implant).  Take all the drugs you are offered for pain relief and stock up on paracetamol for when the hospital drugs run out.  I am now having my dressings gradually reduced before I can see my consultant for the next stage, which may include  radiotherapy and/or a symmetry operation on my breasts.

    If you haven't seen it already, Julia Bradbury made a documentary following a breast cancer diagnosis, which you might find useful in terms of a general idea of the process.  Your own treatment path may be quite different.

    Best of luck.

  • I think for me if I get to 10/15yrs before replacement I’d be ok with that. Maybe even after that there will be a better option to us. Also as I age maybe I’ll decide I care less and go flat. I suppose it depends on how life goes and how you change. 
    It’s good to hear you’d still choose implant if you had to do it again.
    I’m definitely heading that way xx