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Feeling Unbalanced: Double Mastectomy with DIEP Flap, Implants, and Nipple Reconstruction

Real Talk

March 27, 2024

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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 loves her DIEP flap, but her implant side has been a “nightmare.” She recommends skipping the nipple reconstruction.

  • Procedure: double mastectomy, DIEP flap and implant with nipple reconstruction
  • Reconstruction immediately postmastectomy: no
  • Year of procedure: 2014, 2015
  • Age: 47
  • Ethnicity: white

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.

Image of contributor's breasts after mastectomy, DIEP flap, and implant surgery
Over a year postsurgery

I was diagnosed at 37 and had a bilateral mastectomy. I had DIEP flap surgery on my left breast but didn’t have enough fat for both sides. Instead, I got an implant on the right. I’ve replaced it four times so far, and I’m very unhappy with it. I’d like to get it fixed.

Over a year postsurgery

My breasts before cancer were fabulous. Since surgery, my right side has been nothing but a nightmare. It’s changed its size and shape and is now sagging into my left side. My DIEP flap side is perfect.

Closeup of contributor's left breast after mastectomy, DIEP flap, and implant surgery
Over a year postsurgery

I did have a nipple reconstruction, but wouldn’t recommend it. It turned out to be an extra surgery I didn’t need.

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 27, 2024

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