I decided to have weight loss surgery seven months ago, and I opted for the minimally invasive procedure called Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy. I had a double mastectomy with DIEP flap reconstruction in December of 2014, and one of my biggest concerns following weight loss surgery was how it would affect my reconstructed breasts.
Since DIEP flap uses natural tissue, I was told that my new breasts would lose or gain weight as I did — just as natural breasts will do. I was quite content with my reconstructed breasts’ shape and size, and I wondered how much the weight loss would change them. I didn’t notice much of a difference when I lost about 15 pounds before my surgery.
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MBAS’ board-certified microsurgeons perform DIEP Flap reconstruction to patients in Columbus & Ohio to rebuild their breasts using natural tissues.
The Change Was Not as Dramatic as Feared
As of now, I have lost a total of eighty pounds. While I have noticed my reconstructed breasts are not quite as large as they originally were, the change has not been as dramatic as I feared. They have decreased by less than a cup in size. I was a full D before the weight loss surgery and still wear a D cup now. However, the size has gone from a 44D to a 34D.
I think that my reconstructed breasts appear even larger than before because my waistline is so much smaller, and I can wear more form-fitting clothing. Due to having less fat “cushion” at the top area of my chest, I have noticed that I can feel more scar tissue from the mastectomy. This has taken a while to get used to and determine my new normal for what I feel during my monthly self-breast exams.
I am looking forward to having nipple tattooing done to add color to my reconstructed nipples sometime soon to complete my reconstruction.
Katrina Smith’s Before & After Transformation
The Courage to go Forward
Interestingly, my journey through mastectomy and reconstruction gave me the courage to go forward with the weight loss surgery. Once you have had to have your breasts removed — for my case due to my BRCA mutation or, for others, a cancer diagnosis — it challenges how you define yourself as a woman.
For me, I actually felt more empowered than ever and capable of facing whatever life throws at me. I also found a new desire to make taking care of myself a priority, something I didn’t really do before. I am proud of my decisions and certainly very grateful for how it has all turned out.
I know many women considering DIEP flaps are concerned about weight loss after their reconstruction. Overall, even with dramatic weight loss, I can say that my reconstructed breasts are holding up just fine!
9 thoughts on “The Skinny on Weight Loss After DIEP Flap Reconstruction”
You rock Katrina. So proud of your brave moves to care for the whole you!
Thank you so much for writing this! I had Diep flap 5/2016 and go for the sleeve on 2/5/18. I wondered how it was all going to go, breast-wise.
Thank you so much for the info and insight Katrina. I am considering my options after a recent breast cancer diagnosis and while I was leaning toward the DIEP flap procedure and reconstruction, I became worried about the “shape” of my new breasts afterward because I have about 40 pounds to lose. I have been scouring the internet to find info and yours is the first honest and real post I have found. Thank you for your honest and genuine reflection. I see that you said that post-weight-loss your breasts are holding up well. Do you mind my asking if there was noticeable loss of volume or significant “drooping”’after the weight loss? I’m sorry to ask such a personal question but I can’t seem to find the answers I’m looking for elsewhere. – Thanks again ❤️
You are amazing and I’m so blessed to have you in my life!!
Thank you for sharing this. I had breast cancer in 2012 followed by deep flat. I am scheduled for the gastric sleeve July 8th. If there is any way the person who wrote this could reach out to me I would really love it. I just had some questions
Thank you so much for sharing your story. You have made my day!!! I need to lose about 80 pounds and was so scared that I would have deflated boobs that looked like pancakes. I can now move forward with no fear that my body is going to not look like “me”
I am in process for deciding what i should do. I have one breast being removed and afterwards i have around 60pounds to loose….my biggest fear is that my one breast will not match the other.
I had DIEP flap in 2013 and I have gained about 60 lbs. I am at thenend of the process for the Gastric sleeve surgery and my biggest concern is losing my foobs. I just had nipple tattoos and I love my foobs. I am so glad to hear your have turned to delated pancakes that I am not not as worried about having this done. Hoping my stay mostly full and only get smaller around the waist. If you could contact me that would be awesome so we can chat about this
By choosing the best operation and timing the procedures in an optimal fashion, single-sided mastectomy reconstruction can often yield very favorable results with good symmetry and overall breast shape.