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

    If my stereotatic core biopsy results in further surgery, how much time is normal between biopsy and surgery?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 1 year ago 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • Missing
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      It's really up to you and the schedule of your doctor.

      Comment
    • anonymous
      Survivor since 2013

      Mine was about 3 weeks but that was my choice since I had a few things I needed to do before surgery.

      Comment
  • I am having a left breast mastectomy on Thursday. Is there anything I need to know about what to bring to the hospital and what clothes to wear home after it? Anything else that will help me would be great.

    Asked by anonymous

    Patient
    about 2 years ago 7 answers
    • View all 7 answers
    • anonymous
      Stage 1 Patient

      I just got out of the hospital 5 weeks ago with my double mastectomy. These things helped me. You won't be able to shower for a few days until your drains come out whether you or at the hospital or at home. You may want to buy:
      1) dry shampoo for your hair
      2) baby wipes to wipe your body
      3) tops...

      more

      I just got out of the hospital 5 weeks ago with my double mastectomy. These things helped me. You won't be able to shower for a few days until your drains come out whether you or at the hospital or at home. You may want to buy:
      1) dry shampoo for your hair
      2) baby wipes to wipe your body
      3) tops with front buttons, you will not be able to lift your arm
      4) you may want to go to a mastectomy product store and purchase an Amoena Hannah camisole. Its a special post op bra that holds the drains. Google it so you can see the picture. The bra they give you in the hospital is horrible and has velocro on it. Insurance and Medicaid will pay for the bra. You may want to buy 2. One to wash and the other to wear. You will wear this bra for 3-5 weeks post op.
      5) an item that give you comfort sort of a "security blanket" but can be anything.
      6) You may also want to go to the mastectomy product store and have a custom nipple prosthesis made. It will be a nipple that looks as close as possible to your other breast.

      1 comment
    • anonymous
      Stage 1 Patient

      Hi Jennifer,

      It looks like everyone has given you a great list to take to the hospital.
      I live in NY and I also did not know what to take for a bilateral mastectomy that I had 5 weeks ago. My doctor's office gave me a goody bag full of stuff and the hospital staff were really nice and also...

      more

      Hi Jennifer,

      It looks like everyone has given you a great list to take to the hospital.
      I live in NY and I also did not know what to take for a bilateral mastectomy that I had 5 weeks ago. My doctor's office gave me a goody bag full of stuff and the hospital staff were really nice and also gave me extra things.
      Some things that you may want to have
      A water bottle
      Life savers---- I know silly but they were great. I had that metallic taste in my mouth for days and the lifesavers helped a lot.
      a warm blanket- it does not matter how many blankets the hospital gives you, you still seem to be cold so be prepared.
      2 small- 5x7 size pillows- came in the goody bag. Very helpful when going home. Used it to protect my chest from the seatbelt.
      If the hospital staff is willing to give you ask for a box of gloves, alcohol wipes, and the containers to measure the drains. but just in case- have these at home so you're not unprepared. The hospital also gave me an extra bra- one had velcro the other did not....very nice staff. Ask for one, it doesn't hurt to ask. the worst thing they can say is no.

      Good Luck, stay positive. This is a bump in the road of our lives. We just have to get through it. Sometimes we need help from someone or a few people to pick us up but what I have learned not only from my family and friends but also from the ladies here is that they will hold your hand with knowledge, info, and support.

      Comment
  • Here's my question...I just turned 33, found out last night that I will have a bilateral and chemo can anyone help me out on what to expect as far as the chemo and reconstruction or any other helpful information?

    Asked by anonymous

    Patient
    about 2 years ago 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Anonymous, I know we are all so sorry to hear at such a young age, you have breast cancer. Every woman's breast cancer is different on a cellular level. There are many factors and findings that go into the decision how your treatment will go. It depends on what type of breast cancer you have,...

      more

      Anonymous, I know we are all so sorry to hear at such a young age, you have breast cancer. Every woman's breast cancer is different on a cellular level. There are many factors and findings that go into the decision how your treatment will go. It depends on what type of breast cancer you have, the stage, the grade, and your age. You are in limbo right now because you are still being tested. Once your team have your treatment schedule set, your life will settle down. I can tell you, where you are right now is lousy. We really don't know what your treatment will be. As far as chemotherapy, everybody handles it differently. Some people it is tough, other people, like myself, it was relatively easy. They have very good druges to keep you from getting nauseated. You WILL lose your hair. That is a --for sure--. It starts to drop out at about 2 weeks after your first treatment. I did not have reconstruction but usually if you have a mastectomy and you are going to have reconstruction, they place tissue expanders to make a pocket for implants. There are other types of reconstruction and that will be discussed with you depending on your specific circumstance.
      A suggestion for you while you are going through this diagnosis phase, take a spouse, relative and good friend to take notes and listen to what is being said. I did not remember a third of what was said. Thankfully, my husband and best friend came along to help me through this tough time. You have got to be your own best advocate. You have got to speak up, ask questions, and make sure you are getting the correct medication. Every woman's treatment will be different because it is not individualized for each woman. It is a long journey, but you will come out the other side a much stronger woman. Breast cancer treatment ain't for wimps! Hang in there.... you WILL make it!
      Take care, Sharon

      2 comments
    • anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005 and had a mastectomy and chemo in 2006, had breast cancer again in 2011, had surgery and radiation. Think positive! You can beat this! I also found out I have the brca2 gene(breast cancer gene) I am now 41 and trying to stay positive and eat healthy and...

      more

      I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005 and had a mastectomy and chemo in 2006, had breast cancer again in 2011, had surgery and radiation. Think positive! You can beat this! I also found out I have the brca2 gene(breast cancer gene) I am now 41 and trying to stay positive and eat healthy and exercise regularly.

      1 comment

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