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

  • Before surgery, should I have a PET scan or MRI? My general surgeon says that they are unreliable.

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 2 years ago 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      No scan or testing method we have is going to be 100% accurate. For instance, my mammogram & ultrasound missed reading my tumor. Despite the imperfections I can't imagine a physician would treat cancer without doing a PET, CT scan, or MRI first. I would suggest seeing a physician that specializes...

      more

      No scan or testing method we have is going to be 100% accurate. For instance, my mammogram & ultrasound missed reading my tumor. Despite the imperfections I can't imagine a physician would treat cancer without doing a PET, CT scan, or MRI first. I would suggest seeing a physician that specializes in breast cancer. It might be a good idea to get a second opinion. Your life could depend on it!

      Comment
    • anonymous
      Stage 3A Patient

      ALWAYS get a second opinion and talk to an oncologist surgeon. I had a general surgeon remove a sarcoma and I had to have more surgery to get clean margins. Get someone who knows what they are dealing with.

      Comment
  • Missing

    Does any one have experience with dcis and breast implants? How does this affect surgery and treatment? My tumor is on pectoral muscle so they need to take part of the muscle. How did radiation affect implants? Any advice?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 1 year ago 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      I had DCIS cancer. Noninvasive . I had a bilateral mastectomy with saline implants. No chemo or radiation. The mastectomy was the only treatment I had. Have they already told you you have to have radiation?

      Comment
    • anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      I have heard you have reconstruction after radiation. Radiation makes your skin pretty thin so that may affect reconstruction.

      Comment
  • Missing

    My mother had bilateral mastectomy last week and has had fevers ever since. Her white blood cell count is at 47? Is that bad? Going in for her 3rd surgery today.

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 1 year ago 2 answers
    • anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      I am sorry but do not know what is normal for blood counts but if she is running a fever, that does not sound good to me. This is something she needs to talk to her surgeon about asap. It also sounds like she may need to be on some kind of antibiotic.
      Take care, Sharon

      Comment
    • anonymous
      Survivor since 2012

      A normal white blood cell count is around 10,000. I assume your mom's is 47,000. With a high white cell count and a fever it sounds like your mom has an infection going on. (I was a nurse in a former life.) She needs to reach out to her doctors ASAP.
      If she can't reach them, and depending...

      more

      A normal white blood cell count is around 10,000. I assume your mom's is 47,000. With a high white cell count and a fever it sounds like your mom has an infection going on. (I was a nurse in a former life.) She needs to reach out to her doctors ASAP.
      If she can't reach them, and depending on how bad she feels, you might want to consider going to the ER at a hospital with which her doctor is affiliated. Be sure she wears a mask (you can get one at a drug store). She probably needs to have blood work and other tests to figure out what's going on.
      Keep us posted, and please continue to ask any questions you might have.

      2 comments

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