If I had Mastectomy this time with expanders, is it too late to get a diep flap after having expanders in for 4 months?

Had breast Ca and had a lumpectomy with radiation 20 yrs ago and now it came back same side. My breast ca side is very tight and it's stiff and painful with having expanders

Doctor Answers 4

DIEP flap after tissue expanders

Yes, it is common to remove tissue expanders and replace them with DIEP flaps in the case of radiation. Many times if it is known that the patient will need radiation postop then expanders will be placed at the time of the mastectomy with plans to exchange them later for TRAM or DIEP flaps. It is best that you meet with a plastic surgeon who is experienced in breast reconstruction. Good luck!


Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Breast reconstruction

Yes you can have a DIEP reconstruction provided you have enough abdominal tissue.  If you surgeon doesn't perform the procedure identify someone in order to have a consult.  Be prepared to travel if necessary.

Options are still open to you

and you can have the DIEP flaps for reconstruction and with your history of radiation, it would be recommended.  Talk to your surgeon about this.

Curtis Wong, MD
Redding Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

DIEP flap after expanders

Thank you for your question.
Because you have had radiation, a DIEP flap is an excellent option to reconstruct your breasts. And it is not too late to have a DIEP flap even though you have expanders placed. In your case, your tissue expanders can be removed and a DIEP flap can be placed in the same pocket. A DIEP can replace tissue expanders or even permanent implants. Several women replace their tissue expanders for flaps because of capsular contracture, firmness, malposition, poor aesthetic result. Best to seek a board certified plastic surgeon with significant microvascular experience to perform the surgery. Best of luck on your reconstructive journey.

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