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

  • My grandma is diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer and is have surgery next week. Should I be worried about it even if the doctors aren't?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 2 years ago 7 answers
    • View all 7 answers
    • anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Gabby, how loving of you to be so concerned about your grandma. Although there are many factors that figure into a breast cancer diagnosis, it would be unusual for a stage 1
      breast cancer to be something to be highly concerned about. If her doctor's are not ringing their hands with worry, I...

      more

      Gabby, how loving of you to be so concerned about your grandma. Although there are many factors that figure into a breast cancer diagnosis, it would be unusual for a stage 1
      breast cancer to be something to be highly concerned about. If her doctor's are not ringing their hands with worry, I would follow their lead. They see breast cancer all the time, and a stage 1 with no mention of aggressive cells, you need to follow their lead and relax a bit. Your grandma will get the care she needs to cure this. This is a very early stage breast cancer that was found in plenty of time so you will have your grandma with you for a long, long, time. I don't know what type of breast cancer this is or what course of treatment will be followed but I know she will have the pleasure of her grandaughter with her along the way. Please try not to worry. Breast cancer treatment has advanced so much, and so many of us have been saved because of it... especially the women whose disease was diagnosed at Stage 1. Big hugs to you, your grandma must be a very special lady and is lucky to have you. Take care, Sharon

      Comment
    • anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      You shouldn't be afraid. The good thing the cancer was found on time and your grandmother well be fine; with a positive attitude and the family support she will be alright. I am going thru chemo and then radiation and as long as she continues with her treatments she will be fine and will come...

      more

      You shouldn't be afraid. The good thing the cancer was found on time and your grandmother well be fine; with a positive attitude and the family support she will be alright. I am going thru chemo and then radiation and as long as she continues with her treatments she will be fine and will come out positively. Best wishes and best of luck to your grandmother and your family; always be positive and that will help her come out of this situation faster.

      Comment
  • What are some options for breast reconstruction surgery?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 3 years ago 2 answers
    • anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Basically, you can choose between an autologous flap, which is tissue from your own body; or implant reconstruction. Tissue flaps can be taken from the abdomen, or hip. Some choices are DIEP, or TRAM. SGAP flaps are tissue taken from the love handle/buttock region.
      Then there is the...

      more

      Basically, you can choose between an autologous flap, which is tissue from your own body; or implant reconstruction. Tissue flaps can be taken from the abdomen, or hip. Some choices are DIEP, or TRAM. SGAP flaps are tissue taken from the love handle/buttock region.
      Then there is the implant reconstruction. Tissue expanders are inserted and filled with saline until you get to your desired size. Then you switch the expanders to permanent implants that are filled with either silicone or saline.

      Comment
    • anonymous
      Survivor since 2001

      If you want to talk with someone about the pros and cons of these different types, call Y-ME National Breast Cancer Organization (800-221-2141) to talk to a breast cancer survivor. You can also request a "match" call with someone who has had a specific type of reconstruction.

      Comment
  • I'm having a double mastectomy and reconstruction later this week. What are helpful things to know beforehand (recovery, life after, etc,) that I might not have been told by the doctor?

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 2A Patient
    over 2 years ago 7 answers
    • View all 7 answers
    • anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      Hi Sarah, I had my double mastectomy in Oct.  There are a few things that other women told me that helped me a great deal. For your hospital stay bring some pants with an elastic waist, and a button down, or zip up top. I was sent home in a surgical bra but had a camisole with pockets to hold my...

      more

      Hi Sarah, I had my double mastectomy in Oct.  There are a few things that other women told me that helped me a great deal. For your hospital stay bring some pants with an elastic waist, and a button down, or zip up top. I was sent home in a surgical bra but had a camisole with pockets to hold my drains that I wore afterwards. Most insurance companies will cover surgical bras, camisoles, etc. There are"Pink Pockets" you can order online that will attach to the inside of your clothing as well to hold your drain bulbs. When taking a bath I used a long shoestring to loop my drain bulbs around my neck to keep them out of the way while bathing. You can also use a lanyard. I brought two small pillows with me to go under each arm on my ride home to make it more comfortable.  :).  If you have a recliner that would be awesome. It was a lifesaver for me. You will have to sleep on your back for awhile & I was so much more comfortable in my recliner than anywhere. If you don't have one, get several pillows so you can prop yourself up to a comfortable position. Be kind to yourself. It's emotionally hard losing your breasts. Get plenty of rest. I'll say a prayer for you in your healing. Come back here anytime you have questions or just need an ear. There are some awesome women here that have been in your shoes. Best wishes Sarah!

      1 comment
    • anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      One more thing, let people help, it makes THEM feel better. The other thing I learned from my oncology nurse is not to let the pain get ahead of you, as soon as your uncomfortable take your medicine......you will not become addicted to them, your body will let you know when to stop. The other...

      more

      One more thing, let people help, it makes THEM feel better. The other thing I learned from my oncology nurse is not to let the pain get ahead of you, as soon as your uncomfortable take your medicine......you will not become addicted to them, your body will let you know when to stop. The other thing I didn't expect is that this is a long process......I had my bi-lateral mastectomy March of 2010, implant surgery December 2010, nipple placement (if you decide to go that route) March 2011 and my final tattooing in November 2011. As you can see it's a slow process and indeed it needs to be. Let your body recover between surgeries and let your incisions heal. Everything I went through was worth it and I now don't worry about the cancer coming back as much as before....it literally and physically takes a great weight off of your mind. Good luck, I'll check back to see how you are doing.

      Comment

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