I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009 in Singapore. I elected to have a bilateral mastectomy and was told that my only viable reconstruction option was to have breast implants. I was informed that a tram flap reconstruction was not an option for me as it involved too much tissue transfer. DIEP surgery is at its infancy in Singapore, and the two surgeons who did perform the DIEP surgery had only performed a handful of cases, and certainly had never handled a complicated case like mine.
I went ahead with a skin sparing bilateral mastectomy and had tissue expanders put in place. Unfortunately for me, the breast tissue around the expanders became scarred and hardened. I had immense pain every single day after the expanders were put in. Not only that, but the expanders looked awful as the remaining skin on my breast was so thin that you could see every bump and bulge from the expanders.
After much research, I found out about Dr. Blondeel at Clinique La Prairie in Switzerland. I travelled to Montreux and met him and was very impressed not only with his experience, but also with his kind and understanding manner. He is one of the world’s foremost experts in breast reconstruction and DIEP surgery. He has performed several thousands of DIEP surgeries and lectures to other doctors all over the world.
My first surgery was a long procedure, which is incredibly efficient considering that the surgical team had to remove lots of scar tissue and then micro-surgically connect blood vessels from a tissue flap taken from my stomach.
My recovery was truly exceptional. After the first surgery, I looked and felt wonderful. The pain from the encapsulation of the expanders was gone. I no longer had plastic lumps in my breasts. My breasts were my own tissue, and I had sensation again where I felt only numbness previously.
I had a follow-up surgery and tattooing thereafter. Apart from some faint scarring, one wouldn’t even know that I had any kind of breast reconstruction surgery. My reconstructed breasts look fantastic. Most importantly, I feel wonderful. I am not constantly reminded about the breast cancer because of pain or scars. I feel whole again, and I have my reconstructive surgeon to thank for it.