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

    Will you please pray for me? I'm going in for surgery in two hours. Thanks for all your support.

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 2 years ago 14 answers
    • View all 14 answers
    • anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      When prayers go up blessings come down! God has it all under control , Take Care!

      Comment
    • anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Dear Jayme,
      I know every one of us are going to be with you in spirit, and with prayers.... supporting you and your surgeon on your path to stomp the heck out of this lousy disease. Blessings and love to you. Sharon

      Comment
  • Missing

    I am going in for a lumpectomy and sentinel node biopsy. Could anyone please tell me about the pain involved and the experience of the whole procedure?

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 2A Patient
    about 2 years ago 9 answers
    • View all 9 answers
    • anonymous
      Stage 0 Patient

      Hi, I had a lumpectomy and sentinel node biopsy on Sep 29, 2011. My surgery went great, wide clear margins and both nodes they removed were negative. About two weeks following that, I developed some seromas in my breast at the surgery site and at the area just below node removal. My surgeon...

      more

      Hi, I had a lumpectomy and sentinel node biopsy on Sep 29, 2011. My surgery went great, wide clear margins and both nodes they removed were negative. About two weeks following that, I developed some seromas in my breast at the surgery site and at the area just below node removal. My surgeon drained the one below the node removal only one. He gave me pain medication to he me through that. About a month later, I had external pinpointed beam radiation for only 7 days, twice a day. It was not bad at all. I did have, and still do have what mu radiation oncologist calls zingers. They are very sharp pains, which have almost gone away. My seromas are completely gone. I have intermittent swelling on my right breast, which they say is normal. It also is less and less as time passes. Right now, I am taking Tamoxifen and Effexor. I am feeling so much better, but still not totally back to feeling as I did before my DCIS surgery, but I will get there. I had my 6 month mammogram and it was all good, only showed scar tissue from surgery and radiation. every so often, I have a bit of nausea, but I have found that if I drink ginger ale, it really helps. I have a prescription for Compazine, but have only had to use it twice. I had a little nausea and fainting incident a few months ago, but it all worked out. I fell pretty hard and had to have some metal stitches in my head, and a few days I the hospital to make sure it was nothing more Eros causing me to faint. All in all, it is goin good for me. My whole procedure was eventful, but not a bad thing. It is best to educate yourself on your contusion, mine was DCIS, stage 0 , clear margins, neg sentinel nodes, but positive estrogen and progesterone receptors. This is the reason for Tamoxifen. The Effexor was to counteract the hot flashes and it has really helped me feel better and speed up recovery. If you understand you care for your cancer plus a good support network, things, or me anyway, go muc smoother.

      Comment
    • Missing
      anonymous
      Stage 2A Patient

      Surgery is over now. Took 4 hours instead of 1 and a half. They found stuff in my Lymphnodes and ended up removing more than 3. My husband thinks it was 15. How does this affect my chances of survival?

      Comment
  • Has anyone had DIEP (using belly fat) breast reconstruction that can share their story of the surgery and recovery?

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 2A Patient
    over 2 years ago 6 answers
    • View all 6 answers
    • anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      I havent had my reconstruction yet but I was thinking about this procedure. Because its all your own tissue. I just am hesitant cuz it seems you are getting so chopped up. But in the long run you'll have less infections or complications--so I'm told.

      7 comments
    • anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      My Mom had a double mastectomy with a DIEP flap repair on Feb 1st. It was a 10 hour surgery in all. She spent one night in ICU and the three nights on the regular floor. She has had very little pain, the six drains bothered her more than anything. She does fatigue easily but she is getting...

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      My Mom had a double mastectomy with a DIEP flap repair on Feb 1st. It was a 10 hour surgery in all. She spent one night in ICU and the three nights on the regular floor. She has had very little pain, the six drains bothered her more than anything. She does fatigue easily but she is getting stronger everyday. They did not have to use any muscle for the flap so she maintains her abdominal strength. Also, she has no lymphadema due to only two nodes removed during the sentinel node biopsy. At her fist post op visit, five of the six drains were removed. I encourage women to consider this surgery if given the option. Yes, the surgery is long, but she will look amazing and be cancer free when all is said and done. I am Han RN and have been very pleased with her healing and progress. If anyone has any questions, feel free to contact me.

      3 comments

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