My surgery was 4 weeks ago. I had a nipple sparing mastectomy with immediate reconstruction via TRAM flap. The first 48 hours after surgery were extremely painful. I did not have a clear understanding of the details of the reconstruction, though I thought I did.
For instance, about 2 weeks post surgery I asked the plastic surgeon what this lump was, between my breasts but slightly lower. She explained to me how the muscle from my abdomen is tunneled under my skin up to where my breast was and used to help rebuild a new breast. It is tunneled under the skin because the upper end stays attached, in large part to maintain the blood supply. Therefore, the lump is a result of the muscle being folded back on itself to get it in place.
I may ultimately need some liposuction of my abdomen, in the area above the incision, because while you do get a sort of mini tummy tuck, it is only of the area below the incision. Because of this, at either end of the incision I have these "wings" that stick out above the area below the incision, where fat was removed. It looks odd.
Over all though, I don't think I would have chosen anything different.
Mary, thanks for sharing your concerns. The whole breast cancer process has so many
fears. I am sorry you are going through all of this, but you bring up valid points about
fears after reconstructive surgery. My best to you that you can find peace in this. Denise
I wish I would of chosen the DIEP flap procedure. My procedure was bilateral and I am having pain issues under the right expanded. My surgery was November 7th, so it is not part of the healing process. I have that awful thought that there is cancer somewhere under the expander, but both surgeons and my oncology doc don't agree with me: they think it is stitch pain. I have asked for a CT or PET scan and they have refused, saying that it is impossible because of the chemo that I am receiving. I will also be receiving radiation treatments on one side and I am worried about skin changes.
For me, I should of chosen the DIEP procedure after radiation. I would not have to worry about cancer being underneath one of the expanders, or skin changes AND I could have free tummy tuck.