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Topic: Infection after DIEP?

Forum: Breast Reconstruction — Is it right for you? Discuss timing and various procedures and techniques.

Posted on: Dec 2, 2007 02:54AM - edited Dec 2, 2007 02:54AM by hopefor30

hopefor30 wrote:

Back again with more questions -- anyone develop an infection after DIEP surgery?   I had unilater DIEP on 10/24 -- had some complications with large hematoma, but was healing well although bruising and swelling were worse....Now I have a suspected infection -- nothing that looked really bad, but slight redness on breast -- PS opened it up and lots of drainage came out --- I now need to have this hole, which is deep, packed twice a day and it must heal from the inside out.....I am so nervous that this will affect the flap -- can it cause you to lose part of the flap?  PS never mentioned that, but then they tend not to tell you all the bad stuff --- I was finally feeling better and now I am a nervous wreck again -- I go back to the doctor in two days, but was wondering if anyone else had this problem?


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Dec 2, 2007 09:56AM mwoodrowe wrote:

Hi there..i have not had a problem so far since diep but i did end up with an abcess after i had a lumpectomy and radiation.  it had to be packed once a day.  it took a while but it did heal.   hang in there! 

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Dec 2, 2007 02:13PM laura09 wrote:


I also had an infection after my double diep flap reconstruction. I ended up in the hospital for an extra week for IV antibiotics, and then had to pack the "hole" for another 6 months while I had chemo. I had to surgically have the wound debrided and closed up, as no healing happened during chemo, but I am happy to say it is fine cosmetically and physically now 1 year later. Hang in there........

Dx 4/4/2006, ILC, 2cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 2, 5/30 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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Dec 3, 2007 08:34AM - edited Dec 3, 2007 08:34AM by hopefor30

Thanks -- since I am not having chemo, I hope mine will heal faster.   For now, I am on oral antibiotics -- back to the PS on Tuesday, so hopefully I won't have to go into the hospital for IV antibiotics.....glad to hear your cosmetic result was not effected...


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Dec 3, 2007 01:47PM BessB wrote:

Hi Mamhop - very sorry you are having problems with your surgical site.  Did you have drainage tubes that did not drain, or was the drainage from the infection? I will say a prayer for you and am sending warm thoughts your way.  I am scheduled for a bi-lateral with immediate reconstruction at Johns Hopkins early January.  I think the closer it gets the more scared I get.  I wish you well and will continue to keep you in my thoughts and prayers.


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Dec 3, 2007 11:10PM kcq wrote:


How are you doing?  I havent been on the board in a few days.  My uni mast.diep was two weeks ago.  So far, so good.  Although, my father (who was my caregiver for three days) has a staph infection.  Did your ab and breast incisions open?  I was wondering how soon after your surgery that your wounds opened.  Take care and I will continue to pray for your healing.

Kim Dx 5/1/2007, ILC, 4cm, Stage IIB, 1/4 nodes, ER+, HER2+
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Dec 4, 2007 02:19AM hopefor30 wrote:

Hi Kim,

I had my unilateral DIEP on 10/24 -- abdomen wound healed great -- no problems at all and not very painful -- was able to walk upright very quickly --

Breast was another issue -- had complications during surgery -- large hematoma and had to have my armpit drain in for 4 weeks!   It did drain -- continually and in large amounts....the wound NEVER opened -- the breast was just painful and very swollen -

Initially, I was told it was due to the hematoma and the bruising and swelling would go down.  After the drainage tube was finally removed, the breast started to swell again and I called the PS who said to come in - he opened the wound on 11/29 - (that's about 1 month post surgery) to let it drain and heal from the inside out -- kind of disgusting, but necesssary.....

I don't know if the infection was there from the beginning and only became noticeable later on or not.   I never had a fever, just swelling and pain and by the end there was an area that was red.  In the hospital and the first week or so home, the breast was not painful.   Week 3 is really started to hurt and I kept asking why it was getting worse instead of better....must have been the infection.

Now that it is drained and I am on antibiotics (a different one because I had been on antibiotics twice before because my drain was in so long) -- the breast is looking much better -- much less swollen and less bruising -- the redness is gone, but I will feel better when the gaping hole heals shut.   I have a visiting nurse twice a day for dressing changes....(my insurance company must just love me!)

I am sure that I am the exception, so hang in there -- you'll be fine.   I guess I just have rotten luck -- on the other hand, I also found out last week that I do NOT need chemo, so that news was good news.


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Dec 4, 2007 09:36AM viddie wrote:

Hi Mamhop,

I did not have an infection, but my incision did separate. It was pretty deep and I also had to pack it twice a day. I also thought it would affect my flap- that was the part that separated, but it did not. It took around 5-6 weeks to completely heal. It is not totally smooth, but Dr. Lee said that he will fix any imperfections during Stage 2. The tape started to bother me, so I wore a bra 24/7 to hold the bandage. That worked great. Now I go bra-less and love it. It will heal. Hang in there. That is great news that you do not need chemo.

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Dec 4, 2007 01:31PM hopefor30 wrote:

Hi Viddie

It's good to hear that you healed well -- I agree about the tape -- I have been wearing a sports bra to hold the dressings in place.  Dr. Tobias told me not to worry if I get an indent -- he can fix it later on.   I also saw my breast surgeon today and she did not seem overly concerned -- said that she thought it looked good and I would still get a good cosmetic outcome.....however, I would like mine to heal in less than 5-6 weeks, but maybe that is being optimistic.....

It is still painful and the breast surgeon said it should not be -- that's the infection -- that was also good to hear because I was afraid it was going to feel like this forever....


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Feb 20, 2017 04:40PM KarenAus wrote:

I am 5 weeks out of having my diep and have had infection in 3-4 stitch site from about 2 weeks after. I am now on my 4th lot of AB's and got prescrition today for more. I had bad infections in that site 6 months after my mastectomy and 3 more after that. Not sure what the next step is if it doesn't clear. Last time I was back in surgery for the thorough clean out.


Dx 3/2015, IDC, Right, 4cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 3/3 nodes, ER+, HER2- Surgery 6/12/2015 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left Surgery Lumpectomy: Right; Mastectomy: Left, Right Chemotherapy AC + T (Taxol) Hormonal Therapy Arimidex (anastrozole), Femara (letrozole) Hormonal Therapy Arimidex (anastrozole), Femara (letrozole)
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Feb 13, 2018 09:34PM georgiaredskin wrote:

Did anyone get a UTI after their diep? I had my diep on 1/22. Had a fever the day after discharge and chills so they added some oral antibiotics. I have had vaginal irritation (but that has happened after surgery before) but now it burns when I pee and there is terrible urgency and frequency. Going to call my PS in an hour or so. I’m sure I will need to go in for a pee test somewhere

Dx 12/3/2015, IDC, Right, 3cm, Stage IIIC, Grade 3, ER-/PR-, HER2+ Targeted Therapy 12/17/2015 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy 12/17/2015 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 5/5/2016 Lymph node removal: Right; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement
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Feb 14, 2018 01:45AM Lula73 wrote:

yes. The catheterization is typically to blame. The antibiotic they gave you may not have covered all the bacteria. They will likely call in a broader spectrum antibiotic initially & culture the urine sample. A product called Cystex can help with the burning and urgency. Another product called Uricalm Cranberry plus Mannose-D can help with the infection and help keep you from having recurrent infections. Hope you feel better soon!

-Lula Dx 1/2017, DCIS/IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 2/14/2017 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Prophylactic ovary removal; Reconstruction (left): DIEP flap; Reconstruction (right): DIEP flap Hormonal Therapy 3/3/2017 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Surgery 11/1/2017 Prophylactic ovary removal Hormonal Therapy 1/3/2018 Femara (letrozole)
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Feb 16, 2018 01:22PM georgiaredskin wrote:

Hi Lula73!

Thank you so much for your reply! That is exactly what they did-called in Levofloxacin. And I asked my husband to pick up AZO and cranberry caps earlier today! Thanks again

Dx 12/3/2015, IDC, Right, 3cm, Stage IIIC, Grade 3, ER-/PR-, HER2+ Targeted Therapy 12/17/2015 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy 12/17/2015 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 5/5/2016 Lymph node removal: Right; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement

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