Advertisement
Ad revenue keeps our community free for you

Hindsight Is 20/20: Double Mastectomy and DIEP Flap Reconstruction without Nipple

Real Talk

March 28, 2024

Content created for the Bezzy community and sponsored by our partners. Learn More

Illustration by Brittany England

Illustration by Brittany England

by The Bezzy Editorial Team

•••••

Medically Reviewed by:

Teresa Hagan Thomas PHD, BA, RN

•••••

by The Bezzy Editorial Team

•••••

Medically Reviewed by:

Teresa Hagan Thomas PHD, BA, RN

•••••

She was told she’d have one surgery, and the tissue expanders were never explained. In hindsight, she would’ve preferred flat closure. 

  • Procedure: double mastectomy, reconstruction without nipple
  • Reconstruction immediately post-mastectomy: no
  • Year of procedure: 2023
  • Age: 55
  • Ethnicity: Black/African American

This article contains graphic, intimate images of a postsurgery body. The photos have been generously shared by a breast cancer survivor so that others can benefit from uncensored visual information that may help them make important surgical decisions for themselves.

I was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC) and had a bilateral mastectomy in November of 2022. 

image of breasts with bandages on nipple and under breast crease
2 weeks to 1 month postsurgery

The plastic surgeon opted to implant tissue expanders, although I was told I would have one surgery, and the tissue expanders were never explained. During the surgery, I contracted klebsiella oxytoca, a hospital-acquired bacterial infection.

I had to have a second surgery to remove the expanders and clean out the pus in my chest cavity.

image of breasts with bandages under breast crease
2 weeks to 1 month postsurgery

In August 2023, I had a third surgery — deep inferior epigastric perforator (DIEP) flap reconstruction. My last (hopefully) revision and fifth surgery in this breast cancer journey will be in November 2023.

I didn’t think I would need three surgeries or that there would be so many surgical complications. I’m asymmetrical, and the revision is supposed to fix that. I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do about the pain and numbness I still have.

I now have breasts, but hindsight is 20/20. After what I went through, a flat closure would have been preferred.

image of breasts with large lateral scar across center
6 to 12 months postsurgery

Bezzy BC and Young Survival Coalition are partnering to create What It Looks Like, a series showcasing photographs of different breast reconstruction choices on bodies of all shapes, sizes, and colors.

We’re spotlighting breast cancer survivors’ reconstruction decisions and stories so that other women facing mastectomy surgery can see and hear about many different real-life outcomes.

If you’re a survivor who’d like to share your reconstruction (or flat closure) images and story, we’d love to hear from you. Just have your photos ready and fill out this submission form.

Images and stories will be anonymously published on BezzyBC.com.

Medically reviewed on March 28, 2024

Join the free BC community!
Connect with thousands of members and find support through daily live chats, curated resources, and one-to-one messaging.

Like the story? React, bookmark, or share below:

Have thoughts or suggestions about this article? Email us at article-feedback@bezzy.com.

Related stories

Advertisement
Ad revenue keeps our community free for you