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!