Treatment

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Treatment

Chapter: 6 - Treatment

Subchapter: 4 - Breast Reconstruction

Following a mastectomy, you have options to help you become comfortable with the changes in your body. They are all options, with benefits to each approach. What is best for you and your body may not be what is best for another woman.

If you are considering breast reconstruction, you should speak with your medical team before the mastectomy, even if you plan to have your reconstruction later on.

Reconstruction Methods
There are a few of options for breast reconstruction, and which one you use will depend on your age, body type, and treatment plan.

Implants
One possibility is to have breast implants. The breast is filled with silicone sacs of saline or silicone gel.

TRAM Flap, Latissimus Flap, or Gluteal Flap
An alternative solution is to use tissue the surgeon removes from another part of your body, like the belly (TRAM), back (latissimus), or buttocks (gluteal). The surgeon sculpts this tissue into the shape of your breast.

Surgical Summary
In addition to reconstructing the breast, the surgeon can add a nipple, change the shape or size of the reconstructed breast, and operate on the opposite breast as well for a better match. The plastic surgeon will be able to discuss with you the benefits and risks of each procedure, and help you decide what will make you feel the most natural.

Alternative to Breast Reconstruction
One alternative to breast reconstruction is a removable prosthetic breast that is worn in the bra. This will preserve the shape and look of the breast without the surgical procedures.

Summary
Whether you undergo breast reconstruction, wear a prosthetic breast, or choose to embrace the changes you have experienced, you should make a decision that is right for you. The goal is to prevent the discomfort of change, while enabling you to accept what has occurred and continue on with your life.

Related Questions

  • Missing

    I had immediate reconstruction and am now going through radiation. I was told the implant might fail. Is it possible for one to have another reconstruction surgery if the implants fail?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 2 years ago 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Hi I also had immediate reconstruction. It seems the problem that comes up during radiation is that you breast/chest muscle can tighten making the implant uncomfortable. My surgeon put the implant on the on the cancer side on top of the muscle and the right side that wo

      Comment
    • anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      Hi, yes another procedure can be done if you have problems with your implants after radiation. A good site that shows this is breastreconstruction.org. There are several different types of reconstruction that can be performed if it happens. I am looking into DIEP flap surgery now. I wasn't able...

      more

      Hi, yes another procedure can be done if you have problems with your implants after radiation. A good site that shows this is breastreconstruction.org. There are several different types of reconstruction that can be performed if it happens. I am looking into DIEP flap surgery now. I wasn't able to have immediate reconstruction due to my stage of cancer. I completed radiation and I'll be ready for recon. in approx. 1 month. Best wishes to you & hopefully you won't have any problems with your implants during radiation. Hugs, Diana

      Comment
  • should I delay my bilateral mastectomy to have reconstruction at the same time or have a 2-stage op? I'm so confused. I have a stage II from biop 18mm lump in the upper outside quadrant of my left breast.

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 2 years ago 2 answers
    • anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      Hi Marianne. That's a very tough decision. You mentioned...should you delay having your bilateral mastectomy to have reconstruction. I'm just curious about the delay question. I didn't have the option for immediate reconstruction due to my late stage of cancer, it being in my chest wall, etc. I...

      more

      Hi Marianne. That's a very tough decision. You mentioned...should you delay having your bilateral mastectomy to have reconstruction. I'm just curious about the delay question. I didn't have the option for immediate reconstruction due to my late stage of cancer, it being in my chest wall, etc. I am almost finished with radiation and I will have reconstruction when I'm healed from that. I have heard both good and bad arguments both ways. I know when choosing expanders then implants, there's the chance of capsular contracture when doing radiation. Thats the negative. The positive is that when you wake from surgery...you will have something there. Another thing to consider is the fact that if you choose to wait...your skin tightens a good bit during radiation and your skin in the radiated area may not be enough to do the expanders & implants. But then of course you can choose another such as DIEP flap (which they'll do a mini tummy tuck as well) or another type. I am going to be visiting plastic surgeons soon Best wishes in whatever you decide. :)

      Comment
    • anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I am a stage 2A dx'd on 12/8/11. My tumor was 1.5 cm in left breast. I had left side mastectomy with expander insertion on Jan 9. For me the mastectomy was the first step in treatment. Starting the reconstruction at the same time was an option for me and I opted for it. I'm glad I did it. ...

      more

      I am a stage 2A dx'd on 12/8/11. My tumor was 1.5 cm in left breast. I had left side mastectomy with expander insertion on Jan 9. For me the mastectomy was the first step in treatment. Starting the reconstruction at the same time was an option for me and I opted for it. I'm glad I did it. Not because I still feel like I have a breast because this expander is a good ways from what I am thinking my perm implant will eventually look like...... But because I feel like its one less thing to do later. I am ER PR and HER -. My sentinal node did show some cancer while the remaining 12 were clean. My mastectomy biopsy found only precancerous cells in the area that surrounded the original tumor and nothing else in the whole breast. Last week I finished my 4th A/C which was my last. I start 12 weeks of Taxol on April 12 and then I will do 5 years of the hormone pill as well. Once I'm done the end if June with Taxol, ( if all goes well), I plan to do right side mastectomy with expander as soon as I am well enough. This has been the hardest thing I have ever had to do. I'm a go getter.... But this AC gives me a run!! But I just take my "medicine" because I have to. I have a loving supportive family and lots of friends praying for me. I am excited about starting the next step of my treatment as it puts me one step closer to being done.!! All your posts are an Inspiration to me. I wish you all the best! Love and prayers- :)

      Comment
  • Just finished 4 cycles of AC now starting my last 4 cycles of Taxol. What should I expect? AC was easy for me no real side effects hoping for the same on my end of chemo with taxol. Half way done then surgery & reconstruction! yayyyyy

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 2 years ago 11 answers
    • View all 11 answers
    • anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I hope I have the same luck as u ladies!!! You give me hope. Had 1st round of a/c today. SE were limited to headache heartburn and dry mouth. Did any of you girls lose facial hair???

      Comment
    • anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I've only had one dose of Taxol. It was easier. But for me, for about three days nonstop, I had bad menstral-like cramps. I could not find much relief. When this was done, it was replaced with joint pain. Tomorrow will be a week past the Taxol.

      Comment

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